Arts & Culture

“The Virgin Knows,” a North End Novel, Now in Paperback

41T9d5C4gmL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_North End Novel, “The Virgin Knows” by Christine Palamidessi Moore, now in paperback

When it debuted in 1995, THE VIRGIN KNOWS made quite a splash. The press called it “otherworldly…startling…fun and well plotted…clever and compulsively readable.”

Now (summer 2010)  the novel is out in paperback and for sale in the North End at Polcari’s on Salem Street, the Old North Church Gift Shop and at Eclectic on North Street as well as Borders at Downtown Crossing.

The novel is set in the North End during the 70s, when the neighborhood was mostly Italian and beginning to be gentrified by young women looking for a safe place to live.

Two of these women stir up trouble when they take up with Hanover Street businessmen, Carlo and Renato. One helps a secret society smuggle paintings of the Virgin Mary and ships the artwork to Italy where they rightfully belong. The other, a redhead opera singer, brings bad luck to everyone around her. The plot twist and turns in true Italian fashion alla Machiavelli.

Boston’s Pulp Magazine says Christine Palamidessi Moore’s writing is lively and entertaining.  “There are deliciously funny bits such as a scene where two men discuss whether or not to let lobsters have the elastic bands taken off their claws before they’re boiled. ‘I say let them die free,’ one says. ‘They will die happy and their meat will be sweet.’”

Also available on for $12.99. Here is the description:

Product Description

Alicia Barzini, stuck at home in Subiaco, Italy, uses her extrasensory power to spy on her brother and his exciting new life in Boston’s North End. What starts out a story about sibling rivalry quickly evolves into an exciting transatlantic thriller involving Vatican smuggling, opera, lost virginity, murder, loyalty and love. If you enjoy well-plotted books, this one will go to the top of your list. What kicks off the chase? Alicia’s twin brother, Carlo happens to be visiting Rome in 1972 when Lazlo Toth climbs over a guardrail in St. Peter’s, onto Michelangelo’s Pietà and batters a hammer at the statue. Carlo picks up a fragment of the statue’s nose and sneaks out of the basilica. His actions set off an escapade that connects Boston’s prestigious museums to the Vatican’s coffers. The story twists and turns through the back alleys of Boston’s North End and under Harvard Square’s subway stop, Alicia helps Carlo out of the mess, a mess that’s filled her brother’s pockets with big bucks. “This robust, operatic, transatlantic thriller lurches from ribald farce to paranormal phenomena…and as with García Márquez, the fantastic is commonplace. A knowing look, a charming book.”-RICHARD ELMAN

About the Author

Christine Palamidessi Moore is author of novels THE FIDDLE CASE and THE VIRGIN KNOWS. She is Senior Editor of Italian Americana and co-editor of the anthology AMERICAN WOMAN, ITALIAN STYLE. Her work appears in anthologies such as WILD DREAMS and GO TELL MAMMA. Webpage: & a food blog for writers

Christine Palamidessi Moore, is also co-editor w/Carol Bonomo Albright of American Woman, Italian Style

One Reply to ““The Virgin Knows,” a North End Novel, Now in Paperback

  1. Thanks for posting this Matt!. I think locals will like the book a lot. A slice of their neighborhood. Get to see/feel the North End as it used to be…and still is. Readers will find Cafe Paradiso, St Leonard's, Green Cross, the summer parades and a few other shops aren't too much different now than they were in the 70s.

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