Now that the restaurant business seems to have become a branch of the fine arts in Chicago, we forget what it often used to be until recently— a branch of organized crime. We don't mean to stereotype, just to state an historical fact... that isn't always exactly in the past. And the Tribune today has a doozy of a case to recount.
It involves a restaurant called Trattoria Giacomo in Highwood... a chef named Giacomo Ruggirello who died in a fire at his home in Highland Park, a death which was ruled accidental (caused by a furnace) even though the restaurant's safe vanished the same night... two daughters from whom the chef was estranged, and whom he wrote out of his will just days earlier... a friend who hung out with him the night before who just happens to be a furnace repairman... allegations of Mob involvement over the years for the chef, as well as cocaine use and shady business dealings... a subpoena from the attorneys for a cop accused of murder-kidnapping plot that was (until then) a totally separate case... and in the perfect little capping detail, what Sicilian village was the chef originally from? Corleone.
With a wealth of possible suspects (but few conclusive details), it's a perfect case for armchair detectives to exercise their little gray cells on. Just be careful that you don't poke your nose in any deeper than that, shamus. [Tribune]