Questions on Hannibal (the book) - Warning: Spoilers

Note: this post has to do with Hannibal the book, not Hannibal the movie.

Spoilers - don’t read if you don’t want to know anything about the plot.
I saw Hannibal this past weekend and decided to re-read the book, which I thought was incredibly awful the first time around. I found that I enjoyed it much more this time; I think I was past the gross-out factor and was able to better focus on the story, which brings me to my questions:

Did anyone else catch the numerous hints and allusions Thomas Harris gave to Hannibal’s being the serial killer “Il Mostro”? It is so obvious I can’t believe I totally missed it the first time, and I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere in any reviews. Anyone else catch it? - I can’t possibly be the only one. Or am I off my rocker?

I re-read the book, too, after seeing the film and I got the impression that the Mostro murders were over the course of decades, not years, so Hannibal was probably locked up in Baltimore during the duration of most of them.

There was a serial killer in Italy named Il Mostro. While doing research for the middle parts of Hannibal, Harris was seen at the trial for the murderer, and obviously took a few pages from that story into his own.

I believe there was an Italian comedy film about the case, too, starring Roberto Begnini.

Montfort, he was only locked up in Baltimore for 8 years, and the book states that the “Mostro” murders took place over a period of approximately 20 years, except for a curious 8-year gap.

Here are some of the things that made me think Harris was trying to tell us that Lecter is also “Il Mostro”:

  1. It is repeated several times that he was locked up for precisely 8 years (before and after the 8-year gap in murders is mentioned).

  2. The Mostro victims were arranged to imitate a painting, exactly what Lecter did with that guy he killed in Baltimore (the one arranged like “Wound Man”) and exactly like what he did with Pazzi. Also, the version of “Wound Man” that he used is from an Italian medical book. (There are lots of versions he could have used, but he chose an Italian version.

  3. The painting that the victims were arranged to look like (I can’t remember which one) is one that is housed in Florence.

  4. The female member of each victim couple has one breast pulled out of her dress and is decorated with flowers. Breastfeeding is remarked upon in both Silence of the Lambs and in Hannibal (amidst that whole thing about trying to reverse entropy and bring his sister back); Clarice beckons him by removing one breast from her dress (during the dinner at the end of the book); and flower-arranging figures prominently at that dinner. I think there are a couple of other places in which Lecter’s flower-arranging aesthetics are described.

  5. I can’t remember if it’s in Hannibal or Silence of the Lambs, but Lecter draws a picture of Clarice at some point, and I believe it’s the same figure as in the Florentine painting.

  6. There is a description of Lecter in which it is said that people - I think from his Baltimore society days - referred to him as “The Monster.”

There were a couple of other things that of course I can’t remember now.