Favorite story of the week: The Monster of Florence
It’s about an American mystery writer and an Italian journalist who join forces to identify a serial killer that targeted couples having sex in cars in the hills above Florence.
Between 1974 and 1985, seven couples—fourteen people in all—were murdered while making love in parked cars in the hills of Florence. The case was never solved, and it has become one of the longest and most expensive criminal investigations in Italian history. More than 100,000 men have been investigated and more than a dozen arrested, and scores of lives have been ruined by rumor and false accusations. There have been suicides, exhumations, poisonings, body parts sent by post, séances in graveyards, lawsuits, and prosecutorial vendettas. The investigation has been like a malignancy, spreading backward in time and outward in space, metastasizing to different cities and swelling into new investigations, with new judges, police, and prosecutors, more suspects, more arrests, and many more lives ruined.
It was an extraordinary story, and I would—to my sorrow—come to share Spezi’s obsession with it. We became friends after that first meeting, and in the fall of 2000 we set off to find the truth. We believed we had identified the real killer. We interviewed him. But along the way we offended the wrong people, and our investigation took an unexpected turn. Spezi has just emerged from three weeks in prison, accused of complicity in the Monster of Florence killings. I have been accused of obstruction of justice, planting evidence, and being an accessory to murder. I can never return to Italy.