The Sicilian Wife


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“Edwards builds a rich and complex story, moving smoothly between past and present and between Italy and Canada. She develops characters and story lines independently, and then connects them convincingly to build a credible and wonderful literary noir story of love, hate, deception, and revenge.”
—Publisher’s Weekly
“A Mafia princess. A charred body. Destiny. The literary noir of the year.”
—Septimus Black
“In this riveting mystery, Caterina Edwards keeps the tension ratcheted high as she weaves together the tale of a Sicilian woman determined to escape the bonds of her Mafia father’s criminal family and the puzzle facing a female police inspector charged with investigating two tragic deaths in Italy. A gripping read that will keep you turning pages.”
—Holly Robinson, author of Beach Plum Island and Haven Lake
“In The Sicilian Wife, Caterina Edwards has created a multi-layered, dark novel full of the heat and light of the Sicilian landscape in contrast to the cold Canadian urban winter. Out of each landscape the determined desires and destinies of two women cross: Fulvia the Mafia princess who has sought to escape and live in her own fairy tale; and Marisa the police chief who wants to shine cold light on the naked truth and unravel the complicated and compromised murderous past. A compelling read from start to finish.”
—Carmelo Militano, author of Sebastiano’s Vine
The Sicilian Wife is both a political thriller and an absorbing psychological page-turner. It is set firmly in Sicilian noir and yet travels a Canadian immigrant’s dark childhood past. This is a novel, like Sicily herself: full of marvelous contradictions and beauty. Of course, I raced along with the police investigation. I enjoyed each Sicilian proverb and delicacy. But in its final pages I’m sure I could taste the sting in the Sicilian dust.”
—Peter Oliva, Calgary, Alberta
“A gritty, passionate novel, The Sicilian Wife unravels the complicated world of revenge and protection that is at the heart of the cosca, the spiky artichoke of clan that supersedes conventional law and order. In a shadowy web of lies and illusion, an Italian-Canadian exile and a determined Italian female police chief unveil a tangled lattice of cause and effect. Imbued with tales ancient and modern, The Sicilian Wife gleams with silence, cunning, and courage. This is a brilliant portrait of the stuttering heart of secrets and sensuality..”
—Aritha van Herk, Calgary, Alberta
“The novel is ambitious, flitting between different timelines and allowing the story of Fulvia’s past to inform and enrich de Luca’s investigation. For the most part, these different threads are well-balanced, making The Sicilian Wife a crime novel with a real depth of character and place.”
—The National Post (Read more)
“A story that is both a literary novel and a work of crime fiction, The Sicilian Wife offers satisfaction on many levels. The author deftly interweaves a criminal investigation with a backstory of first the child, then the adult, finally the widow of the victim. But who, here, is victim – the husband who died in a fiery car crash in Sicily, or his enigmatic wife, at home half a world away? […] The Sicilian Wife is a fine, textured novel that both entertains and informs. Readers will want to follow the work of its gifted and award-winning author, Caterina Edwards.”
—Jim Napier, (Read more)
“This literary noir combines all the elements we expect from the genre and this talented and prolific writer: drama, passion and literary sophistication. Who else would be able to smoothly mesh the labyrinthian workings of the Sicilian police force and the mafia with quotes from the 5th c. philosopher Empodocles of Sicily, snippets of Greek mythology and fairy tales rooted in Sicilian culture? […] Sensuous, fast-paced and erudite, The Sicilian Wife satisfies on every level.”
—Michelle Alfano, A Lit Chick (Read more)

The Sicilian Wife is both a literary novel and a mystery. Fulvia, the Mafia Princess, must be a dutiful daughter or the family will be dishonoured. Though she eventually escapes and makes a new life in Canada, she is betrayed and then her husband is murdered on the Sicilian coast.

The police Chief investigating the case is Marisa, who faces a station house of skeptical men as well as confronting Fulvia’s uncle, the boss of bosses.

Interweaving folk tales, classical allusions, and recent Italian history with the conventions of the detective story in this powerful new novel, Caterina Edwards uses the literary noir to question the very possibility of justice and free will.

Two women, Fulvia, a Mafia Princess, and Marisa, a chief of police; two countries, old and new, Sicily and Alberta; two narratives, a mystery and a literary novel; one compelling story – Fulvia’s struggle to escape the influence and power of her family. Caterina Edwards’s subtle and evocative prose interweaves folk tales, classical allusions, recent Italian history, and the portrayal of a hidden culture into the conventions of the detective story. The women are connected when Fulvia’s husband is murdered, and Marisa investigates. Both are fighting against the patriarchal givens of their time and place. Fulvia must be a dutiful daughter or the family will be dishonoured and weakened. Marisa has the task of leading and controlling a station house of skeptical men, as well as confronting Fulvia’s uncle, the boss of bosses. Fulvia eventually finds refuge in Canada and makes a new life, but this life and the well-being of her daughters is threatened when she is betrayed. Marisa too faces betrayal, at work rather than at home, and she too falls into grave danger. Violence, suspense, loneliness, sex, and police procedure, Edwards uses the literary noir to interrogate the very possibility of justice and free will.