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Giuseppe Gorgiano, known as Black Gorgiano, was an Italian criminal who serves as the main antagonist of "The Adventure of the Red Circle".

History[]

Gorgiano was born in the district of Posillipo in Naples. At some point he joined a secret society known as the "Red Circle", an offshoot of the Italian revolutionary cells known as the Carbonari. He developed a fearsome reputation for murder in southern Italy, which eventually forced him to leave Italy to escape the police.

Gorgiano settled in New York City, where he founded a new chapter of the Red Circle among the city's Italian immigrant community. This new society was no less criminal; he was suspected to be responsible for about fifty murders in the city, but could never be arrested for lack of evidence. By chance, Gorgiano also ran into Gennaro Lucca, a fellow Neapolitan whom he had personally inducted into the society some years before. Though Lucca had hoped to leave his past behind him, Gorgiano forced him to join his new Red Circle lodge. Gorgiano also met Lucca's wife, Emilia, for the first time, and developed a strong attraction to her. He began visiting the couple frequently. One night, while Gennaro was out, Gorgiano attempted to force himself on Emilia; while Gennaro arrived in time to rescue her, he made an enemy out of Gorgiano.

Gorgiano attempted to exact his revenge shortly afterwards. The Red Circle raised its funds by extorting rich Italians. One target, a fruit merchant named Tito Castalotte, had refused to pay; worse, he tipped off police to the racket. Gorgiano insisted that an example be made of Castalotte, and decided to blow up his house with dynamite. Knowing that the merchant was a personal friend of the Luccas, he rigged the subsequent drawing of lots so that Gennaro would be forced to perform the act. However, rather than submit, the Luccas chose to warn Castalotte and flee the country.

Cheated of his revenge, Gorgiano and some of his thugs tracked the Luccas to London. Gennaro secretly placed Emilia in a lodging-house run by a Mrs Warren, which Gorgiano soon located. However, he thought that Gennaro himself was in the house; this led to an unfortunately incident where Gorgiano's thugs accidentally kidnapped Mr Warren as he left the house, though they released him after realizing the mistake. The Luccas soon realized the house was being watched, and Gennaro resorted to communicating with Emilia through lamp-signs from a house across the street. Meanwhile, Gorgiano had been trailed to England by an American Pinkerton agent named Leverton, who secured cooperation from the official police in the form of Inspector Tobias Gregson. Mrs Warren, meanwhile, was concerned by the strange behavior of her new lodger, and hired Sherlock Holmes to investigate. In the end, however, the case resolved itself without any of their intervention. Gorgiano attacked Gennaro while signaling his wife in the empty house across the street; however, Gennaro managed to kill him with a knife through the throat. The Luccas were arrested for Gorgiano's killing; though the end of the story does not indicate the outcome of the trial, none of the investigators believes they will face any punishment.

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