Friday, June 22, 2007


"Baroncini poor is past; Baroncini with a business that'll create wealth for lots of people is the future"
A change of regime, "there is, above all, enormous moral and political confusion that combines the desperation of those who know they are losing, the opportunism of those ready to change sides, the guilelessness of those who haven't understood anything, and even the desire for revenge in those who are about to arrive."
But enough about Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and the Labour Party coup d'etat.
Carlo Lucarelli, ably assisted by his translator Michael Reynolds, has produced another little gem of a novel. At 117 pages it is a very short novel, which leaves the reader shouting "bravo, encore". Luckily for us the De Luca trilogy has one more volume to be translated Via delle Oche.
May 1945, the war in Italy is just over but the struggle for power, and the taking of revenge is still ongoing. Commisario De Luca is posing as one Giovanni Morandi to avoid reprisals for his time as a member of the fascist political police, but he is recognised by Brigadier Leonardi.
Leonardi, a partisan policeman, has a quadruple murder to solve, and knows that "the most brilliant detective in the Italian police force" is the man to help him in difficult circumstances. If he solves the crime it will help his career when the regular carabineri return.
De Luca and Leonardi delve into the crime and investigate a stolen brooch found at the murder scene, and the disappearance of a Count. De Luca is in a community that has been occupied by Italian fascists, Germans, Italian partisans, and the Allies. It is a complicated world with difficult relationships, and with complex characters.
At the local inn he meets the beautiful and feisty Francesca la Tedeschina "the little German" her hair shorn, because she went with a German. He shakes with fear when faced with Carnera, the local hero, a legend who defied the dreaded Black Brigades, the Brigate Nere.
Will someone recognise De Luca, and exact revenge before he solves the case?
Who does Carnera fear?
A short but very sweet historical crime novel, roll on De Luca Trilogy book 3.
In Milan alone, for example, there were at least sixteen different police forces, from the regular police, the "Questura," to the Gestapo, each doing as they pleased and sometimes arresting one another. [from the preface to the trilogy]


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It seems odd to call this a historical crime novel, though that's exactly what it is. I hope that phrase does not frighten readers away from this exciting book. A historical novel does not have to be old or musty or flippant!

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

1:25 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Perhaps I should have used the phrase "an exciting crime novel set in a turbulent period of history."
I certainly want to encourage readers for this trilogy, and Lucarelli's excellent Ispettore Grazia Negro books.

3:11 PM  

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