If more historical crime fiction were like Carlo Lucarelli's De Luca trilogy (Carte Blanche
, That Damned Season
and Via delle Oche,
the last of which is to be published in English translation next year), I might learn to like historical crime fiction.
What makes Lucarelli's brand different? For one thing, the De Luca books are compact and almost devoid of picturesque detail. Instead, Lucarelli gets at the heart of the scary and chaotic place that was late-Fascist Italy directly, and far more effectively, through brief, violent bursts of action, and through the thoughts and words and deeds of one man: De Luca.
That hard-working police officer has transferred from the Fascist political police to the regular force, but his past stays with him and is essential to his investigations. De Luca's pleas that he hates the politics, that he is just a policeman doing his job, are a sad, almost pathetic refrain throughout Carte Blanche.
More later, perhaps.© Peter Rozovsky 2007
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Labels: Carlo Lucarelli, De Luca, historical crime fiction, historical mysteries, Italy