The case of the turqoise melodica

by Dan

Inspector Partisani, left his house in Pennabilli, a small town on top of a mountain in Northern Italy, the village square was empty. The town quarantined because of Covid 19. The portly policeman was in a hurry. He passed the three shops, the butchers, the barbers and the Gazzeteria. They were open but empty apart from two old boys who went to the barbers for company. To the barber’s frustration neither had any hair to speak of. The bars were all closed.

Inspector Partisani believed in the rule of law, he was supposed to be self- isolating but it had gnawed at him throughout the night and now he realised what was happening he felt he had to act. Anyway, he had no symptoms, just neckache from tossing and turning in bed, so he felt justified in breaking his isolation and heading for the large church house occupied by his old friend and sparring partner Father D’Annunzio.

Father D’Annunzio and argued over everything, the policeman sometimes felt he was losing his rationality, the priest worried that he had lost his faith. Coffee, wine and grappa were consumed and it helped that the priest’s orchard was the best in the whole of Novafeltria Region and also that Maria, the best cook in town worked for him.

But this was not the reason for his visit.

The priest had been excited the last time they had spoken, for he had finally had word that his grand piano was arriving that day. Everyone knew about the priest and his blessed piano that never arrived. It was always “not ready yet”, “ready soon”. every time delivery was imminent something would happen that meant it didn’t arrive. But today was apparently the day, at last.

And it was that that had worried the Inspector.

He’d thought nothing of it until he read on the internet that Gildo “Lucky” Lavastano had been released from gaol having had his sentence reduced. F. D’Annunzio had played a central role in getting the leader of the “Replacer” gang imprisoned in the first place. The gang was so named for leaving apposite mementos at the scene of each crime they committed.

Why now? Why was the piano suddenly ready in the midst of a national emergency. He knew his friend well and the priest would have forgotten all else in his excitement over the arrival of his beloved instrument. Even that man in the dark clothes who had been watching his window day and night.

As Inspector Partisani arrived at his old friend’s, a black cat crossed his path, bad luck meant bad Lucky, he thought. He had pieced it together hours before but had wrestled with his conscience on breaking his own isolation. Finally he was now doing what was right but hoped it wasn’t too late.

The door to the Priest’s house was open. He rushed into the large dining room with huge windows that looked across the valley. There on the floor was his old friend with fresh blood oozing from his body and a switchblade Stiletto knife in his chest. Too late by ten minutes. Lying beside him, where F. D’Annunzio had often said he would position the piano was a small turquoise child’s melodica. Turquoise, the chosen colour of the Replacer gang.

Partisani swore revenge on Lavastano but at that moment began to feel feverish, he fell to his knees and called the coroner, he then called the emergency hospital operating in Novafeltria, then he fainted.