Scerbanenco is just as good the second time
A Private Venus was the first of Scerbanenco's Duca Lamerti novels. Melville House will publish Traitors to All later this year, with the books known in Italian as I ragazzi del massacro ("The Boys of the Massacre") and I milanesi ammazzano al sabato ("The Milanese Kill on Saturday") to follow.
The first four chapters of A Private Venus are as breathtaking and moving an opening as any in crime fiction. Here's part of what I wrote when I first read the novel, and to this list I might add the deadpan observation of Italian neo-realism and the compassion of William McIlvanney:
"I can't quite figure out whom Giorgio Scerbanenco reminds me of most. He can be as dark as Leonardo Sciascia, as deadpan realistic as Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, as probing in his observation of people as Simenon, as humane as Camilleri, as noir as Manchette, as hope-against-hopeful as David Goodis, but with a dark, dark humor all his own."Among its other high points, the book is rendered into English by Howard Curtis, one of the finest translators of crime fiction.
© Peter Rozovsky 2014