“Nico, Niccolo Ricci, but everyone called ’im ‘Mucky.’ Old-school villain. Pimp. ’E owned a few strip clubs, ran a couple of knocking shops. Real bit of old London, ’e was.” 1
When Strike begins to wonder if Niccolo “Mucky” Ricci could be a suspect in Margot Bamborough’s disappearance, he meets up with Shanker to learn more about the gangster.2 Mucky Ricci is currently in his nineties and living in a nursing home.3 He is no longer able to speak, has round-the-clock care and is visited frequently by his dangerous sons, Luca and Marco.4
For the first time ever, Shanker warns Strike away from someone by explaining just how dangerous the Ricci family is.
“‘Well, there ain’t no Little Italy gang any more, is there? But they’re villains, yeah,’ said Shanker. Then he leaned across the table and said quietly, ‘Listen to me, Bunsen. You do not wanna screw wiv Mucky Ricci’s boys.’” 5
Ricci is known to wear a large gold ring with a lion’s head on it.6 He has drooping basset-hound like eyes.7 His once black hair is now a dark gray, and he has a very large nose and earlobes.8 Not only is it difficult to investigate a ninety-year-old suspect who can’t speak, but risking upsetting the Ricci sons could put Strike and Robin in a dangerous situation.
1, 2: Troubled Blood, Chapter 27
3: Troubled Blood, Chapter 49
4: Troubled Blood, Chapter 57
5: Troubled Blood, Chapter 27
6: Troubled Blood, Chapters 25 & 27
7: Troubled Blood, Chapter 27
8: Troubled Blood, Chapter 57