Roger Williams, memorialized with a statue in Prospect Terrace Park, founded Providence in 1636. According to crime writer Bruce DeSilva, corruption set in not long after.
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Dedicated in 1878, Providence's City Hall has seen its fair share of corruption.
Credit Jennifer Ludden / NPR
Author Bruce DeSilva shows NPR's Jennifer Ludden around Providence's America Street, where he imagines his main character, Liam Mulligan, lives "in an apartment furnished with a Salvation Army mattress, an ancient Frigidaire and not much else."
Providence, R.I., has a history of mob violence rivaling that of New York or New Jersey, but it comes with a gritty intimacy that could only be found in the nation's littlest state. Author Bruce DeSilva says that's what makes Providence the perfect place to set his crime fiction.
"It is big enough to have the usual array of urban problems," he says. "But it's so small that it's claustrophobic. It's very hard to keep a secret in places like that."