A Dish Best Served Cold: An Italian Kitchen Mystery (Italian Kitchen Mystery, An)

A Dish Best Served Cold: An Italian Kitchen Mystery (Italian Kitchen Mystery, An) by Rosie Genova

Book: A Dish Best Served Cold: An Italian Kitchen Mystery (Italian Kitchen Mystery, An) by Rosie Genova Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rosie Genova
as well.”
    “Come right this way,” Gale said. “We’ve actually got a display over here.” She led me to a shelf of books and handed me a thick hardcover. “This one’s fun. It’s about famous murders along the shore.”
    On the cover was a mug shot of a smirking but dead-eyed killer, a lock of greasy hair across his forehead. “Well, isn’t he attractive?” I said. “But he does look like he’s from the period I’m interested in. Gale, is it okay if I grab a few of these and find a quiet place to read them?”
    “Help yourself. If you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the desk.”
    Besides the book about murders, I took another about the history of Atlantic City and a third that focused on immigrant groups at the shore. I doubted I’d find Robert Riese in any of the indexes, but I could at least get a feel for the period. Since the only unoccupied place I could find was in the children’s room, I squeezed into a small chair, feeling like an overgrown Goldilocks. But I forgot my discomfort quickly enough.
    Apparently, the Jersey shore had been a hotbed of crime in its day, and the loathsome guy on the hard cover was only one example of some pretty heinous types. Thankfully, Robert Riese wasn’t among them. Setting the murderers aside for a moment, I focused on the book about Atlantic City. Having only my grandmother’s word on it, I was operating under the assumption that Alfonso and Robert/Roberto had carried their nefarious ways into their new country, but if they were small-time criminals, it wasn’t likely their names would end up in the history books. Still, I turned to a chapter on mob activities with hope in my heart.
    By the time of the 1940 census in which Alfonso and Robert Riese appeared, “America’s Favorite Playground” was nearing the end of its glory days. Prohibition had ended in 1933, so the lucrative bootlegging that went on in the days of Nucky Johnson were long over. But depending upon when they arrived in Atlantic City, that didn’t mean the two men might not have been involved in the tail end of it or in two of the city’s other favorite pastimes—gambling and prostitution.
    Johnson, of course, had been the big crime boss and was still famous enough to be the subject of a cable drama. But the pages devoted to Johnson had no mention of either men, and by 1941, Johnson was in prison. It was more likely that Alfonso and Roberto occupied the fringes of the Atlantic City underworld, making them that much more difficult to find. I sighed and looked at the wall clock; the library would be closing in less than a half hour. Flipping to the center section of the book, I leafed through pages of chronologically arranged photographs, stopping at those taken in the 1940s. Face after face looked the same—menacing, dark-haired, dark-eyed men wearing low-brimmed hats and blank expressions. I was about to give up when my eye was caught by a caption under a group shot:
    Leo Barone, a small-time bootlegger who coexisted uneasily with Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, extended his influence to other criminal activities, notably gambling, after Prohibition ended. While not having the high profile of Johnson or later Atlantic City mobsters such as Skinny D’Amato, Barone wielded much influence in the Italian neighborhood of Ducktown in the late forties and early fifties. Shown here are Barone, Alfonse “Alfie” Petrocelli, and three other unidentified men. Barone died in 1958.
    The name
Barone
seemed alive on the page, lifting itself from the very sentence it occupied. I stared at the image of the five men, goose bumps prickling up and down my arms. Who were the three unidentified men? Was one of them Robert Riese, aka Roberto Rienzi? The man identified as Alfonso looked to be in his early thirties; Roberto would be his age. I brought the book over to the window and held it up in the light for a better look.
    In the grouping of three, the youngest man stood in the middle, wearing a fedora pushed

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