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The killing took place outside a busy coffee bar in Naples in broad daylight.
Pupetta was eighteen years old and six months pregnant when she pulled the gun from her bag.
A man known as Big Tony who had ordered the hit on her husband just months earlier...
In this unputdownable exposé of women in the Mafia, investigative journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau tells the stories of the women who have risen to prominence in the Italian mob, beginning with the first documented female boss, the infamous Pupetta Maresca. Through personal interviews and groundbreaking research, Nadeau gives us a jaw-dropping 360-degree view of the dark underbelly of Italian society, taking us deeper into the Mafia and its complex realities than ever before.
'Takes the reader into the little-known role of the women that underpin Italy's most ruthless mob families' Sara Gay Forden, author of House of Gucci
'An unflinching portrait of one the original divas of organised crime' Clare Longrigg, author of Mafia Women
'A must for true-crime fans' Publishers Weekly
In this engrossing account, Nadeau (Roadmap to Hell: Sex, Drugs and Guns on the Mafia Coast) combines diligent research, hours of personal interviews, and vivid prose to immerse the reader in the world of Italian Mafia women. Nadeau tells the stories of those who defected and turned evidence against the mob, such as wives who betrayed their husbands, but she focuses on the unrepentant women, Assanta "Pupetta" Maresca chief among them. Born into a crime family in 1935, she married a mobster who was assassinated when she was 18 and pregnant. To retaliate, Maresca pumped 29 bullets into the man who ordered the hit and spent the next 10 years in prison, where she gave birth to her son, before being pardoned for the murder in 1965. She went on to remarry a mob underboss, but was sent back to prison in 1978 for another murder, which was overturned on appeal four years later. Maresca spent the 1980s wielding enormous influence in the crime organization, revered as the godmother and the Lady of Camorra. Even in her old age, she was celebrated as a self-made woman and was the first Mafia woman to be banned from having a public funeral due to her bloodthirsty life, when she died on New Year's Eve 2021. This look at the "feminine" side of the Mafia is a must for true crime fans.