And talking about using this place where I live as an inspiration for stories: two nights ago somebody stole the brain of a saint.
I’m not kidding.
Now, in this area there’s a lot of towns and villages called Castelnuovo – which means New Castle, and the Montferrat territory is dotted with castles and fortifications.
So to tell one place from another, they add something to the name.
Castelnuovo Belbo, where I live, takes its name from the Belbo river flowing by (and sometimes through) the village.
Castelnuovo Don Bosco takes its name from Saint Giovanni Bosco, founder of the Salesians of Don Bosco, a Roman Catholic religious institute – back in the times of yore boys-only, now open to the education of both boys and girls.
One of the “social saints” of Piedmontese tradition – meaning the sort of saint that worked in society, trying to help the lower classes and the poor – Giovanni Bosco has a great following in this region.
And yesterday somebody stole his brain.
In what is pretty macabre and would probably please a lover of Gothic literature, the brain of the saint was preserved in a golden urn in the church in Castelnuovo Don Bosco, built on the spot where the saint was born.
On the night between Friday and Saturday, person or persons unknown got in, and stole both container and content. It is likely they will ask for ransom.
As you can imagine, as I have a lot of friends that fall in the joker category and have very little good taste, I’ve been the object of no end of jokes and insinuations in the last 24 hours.
It’s also been suggested that I put Buscafusco on the case.
But really, this is the sort of plot idea that would be considered implausible by most readers.