The man was lying in the middle of the hotel room, three bullet wounds dead in the centre of his chest. He had short hair, shaved on both sides, and had died with eyes open, staring at the ceiling. The first thing Senior Inspector Lorenzo Marchetti noticed (other than the gunshot wounds of course) was the man's T-Shirt: a white crop-top with the words 'It's all About ME!' in red across his chest. The blood obscured most of the lettering. He was wearing tight red trousers and was covered in expensive jewellery. The inspector could be fairly certain that robbery had not been a motive.
"You know who this is?"
Marchetti shook his head. "But you're about to tell me, aren't you, Rossi?"
Inspector Giulia Rossi was one of the most capable homicide detectives Marchetti had ever met. She knew several languages, was a crack shot and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Italian pop culture.
"This is the lead singer of Måneskin, Damiano David. They won Eurovision and sort of exploded."
Måneskin said something in Marchetti's brain. Ah yes, his daughter had mentioned them. She would definitely be upset by this news.
"Where are the other members of the band?" the senior inspector asked.
"They're already at the venue. Apparently David was running late, so they left without him. The man in the hallway, Leonardo Grillo, was the one that found him."
Marchetti nodded. "Have one of the officers take him to the station and test his hands for gunshot residue. I hope he hasn't called the other members."
"I took his phone," Rossi said. "Seeing as he's a person of interest."
"Good job," Marchetti replied. "Meet me at the venue."
When Marchetti arrived at the venue he was greeted by an irate-looking woman, who introduced herself as Måneskin's manager, Marica Casalinuovo, and showed Marchetti her ID card. Marchetti copied down her information.
"What's going on?" she demanded. "None of the officers here are answering any of our questions, and we can't get in touch with Leo."
Senior Inspector Marchetti nodded. "The officers here can't answer any of your questions because they don't know anything. And we will explain why you can't get in touch with Signore Grillo very soon. We have to wait for my partner Inspector Rossi to arrive."
With that, Marchetti took out a pack of cigarettes, offering one to the woman. The woman took one with shaking hands.
"It's not like Damiano to be so late. He's very professional and keeps to the schedule we give him. All of them do. These are some of the most professional musicians I have ever worked with."
Marchetti was very used to the nervous chatter of people talking to the police. It wasn't always guilt, just a person needing to over-explain themselves, give themselves an alibi and make themselves feel better. Marchetti just nodded as they smoked together.
"What sort of police officer are you?"
"I'm just a police officer. My title is Senior Inspector."
As the woman contemplated his answer, Inspector Rossi drove up, getting out of the car after parking it properly. Senior Inspector Marchetti introduced the two women, and then he looked at Måneskin's manager.
"I need to speak with the other members of the band. Could you find me a private room or two?"
The woman nodded and led the way into the venue, and to the backstage area where the other three members of the band were sitting on a cramped sofa. They looked up when the door opened, and the female musician ran over to their manager, and held up her phone almost accusingly.
"He won't pick up, what's happening Marica?"
"I have some news if you would sit back down." Inspector Rossi came to stand behind. "This is Senior Inspector Marchetti and I'm Inspector Rossi. I'm afraid we have some bad news for you. I'm sorry to have to tell you that Damiano was killed."
The reactions were about what Marchetti expected. The two blondes burst into tears, holding onto each other, whilst the brunette at the end stared into the middle distance, his thoughts very far away and his hands clasped together. Marica had sunk into a chair upon the announcement, sobbing into her hands.
"How did he die?" the brunette asked.
"We can't disclose that right now," Marchetti replied. "I know this may be asking too much, but we'd like to ask you all some questions. If you would rather wait until the morning, we would have to ask that you return to Rome and not stay here in Milan."
The three band members looked at each other, and then leaned in to whisper to each other. The brunette whispered very clearly, "Whatever we do, we have to tell the truth." The two blondes nodded.
"We'll answer your questions now," the female musician answered. "We have nothing to hide."
Inspector Rossi nodded. "None of you are being accused," she stated. "But you may be later. Would you like to have a lawyer present?"
Marica opened her mouth but the brunette musician was faster.
"No, we don't. And I'll go first." He pushed himself off the sofa.
The brunette musician, who introduced himself as Ethan Torchio, was what Marchetti would describe as beautiful . Men were not, as a rule, beautiful but Ethan's long hair that cascaded down his back, his expressive face and well-defined body, was very well within the definition.
He was wearing a pearl necklace that he kept playing with and was dressed in an outrageously tight Union Jack tank-top and faux snakeskin trousers. Marchetti figured this was what rock stars looked like. He was a fan of classical music but his daughter would definitely enjoy Ethan's whole aesthetic.
Marchetti and Rossi sat across from Ethan on the sofas in the green room they had co-opted for an interview room. Ethan kept messing with his lighter, his cigarette hanging from his mouth and his pack next to the tape recorder on the table between them. A video camera was set up behind Marchetti's and Rossi's sofa.
"So why did you want to go first?" Rossi asked.
Ethan finally lit his cigarette. His gaze was very far away. "Because I killed Damià, " he said, his voice clear except for the erre moscia, which made him sound older and more refined, rather than juvenile like it usually did.
"Are you... are you confessing to Damiano David's murder?" Marchetti clarified.
"I am," Ethan replied, smoking. He looked calm, self-assured. His voice did not waver.
"'And you still do not want a lawyer?" Rossi asked.
"I do not," Ethan replied. "I want to confess and I have nothing to hide."
Marchetti nodded. "Start from the beginning, then."