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One Sunday morning in 1993 a 16-year-old girl named Eliza Claps goes missing from a church in the centre of Potenza, Italy. Shortly before her disappearance, Elisa had met Danilo Restivo, a strange local boy with a fetish for cutting women’s hair on the back of buses. Elisa’s family are convinced that Resitvo is responsible for their daughter’s disappearance, but he is protected by local big-wigs: by his Sicilian father, by a doctor with links to organised crime, by a priest who had vices of his own. Years went by and Elisa’s family could find only false leads.
2002, and Restivo is now living in Bournemouth. In November that year, his neighbour is found murdered, with strands of her own hair in her hands. Once again the police are at a loss to pin anything on him. It’s not until 2010, when Elisa’s decomposed body is found in the church where she went missing, that the two cases are linked and Restivo is finally dealt with.
Blood on the Altar combines a gripping true crime case with Jones’s deep understanding of Italian culture – the impunity it offers to the powerful – he so expertly demonstrated in his bestseller: The Dark Heart of Italy.
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