Crime Scene Italy, latest addition to the series

Varesi  It has taken me a shamefully long time to read the latest Crime Scene Europe publication – on Italy. But now I have done, and what a fantastic resource it is – comprising both an interactive online version and freely available as a PDF download, a real bonus. The Crime Scene series surveys "the very best of the international crime writing scene, country by country. Each profile will collect the key facts, relevant figures, publishing trends, notable writers, crime fiction festival and prizes. And each issue will be put together by key figures: writers, bibliographers, or other experts active on the Crime Scene in question."

Crime Scene Italy is compiled by Gian Franco Orsi, and begins with a short history of Italian crime fiction – with a helpful asterisk for the titles discussed that are translated into English. The other main essay is on the Italian crime novel today, which has given me plenty of ideas for my reading list. The third main component is a set of resources, on the main publishers, websites, bookshops, prizes, festivals and more. Truly a fantastic summary, all in five (double) pages.

One book I'd like to read is Giancarlo de Cataldo's Romanzo Criminale, available in Spanish (soon), German and French already, according to Amazon, but no sign of an English version. I am also intrigued by another untranslated author, Guiseppe Pederiali, whose character Camilla Cagliostro is said here to be one of the best Italian female detectives. But there are plenty of suggestions of authors who are translated into English to keep me happy, including the book featured on the Crime Scene Italy cover – River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi (MacLehose Press) – sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. A comprehensive list of Italian crime fiction is available at Euro Crime - click on the name of an author and you get to a list of his or her novels (if translated) and links to reviews of the books.

Previous Crime Scene publications have covered France, The Netherlands and Switzerland. So there is plenty to look forward to, not least Sweden, Norway and Spain….for a start, if the publishers are looking for suggestions.


9 thoughts on “Crime Scene Italy, latest addition to the series

  1. Maxine – Oh, thank you for this! I love it that you’ve posted such a useful resource. What a help for finding out what’s new and upcoming.

  2. What a good resource. Thanks a lot. But now I want to read the untranslated book about a woman Italian detective, Camilla Cagliostro. I have not seen this before. Commissario Brunetti, of Donna Leon’s books, works with an assistant, the brilliant Signorina Elettra, and occasionally a woman police officer is involved but no main characters. But I have not heard of any Italian crime fiction with women detectives. Does anyone know of any? Of course, I’ll look at the aforementioned resources, which is exciting. I don’t know if I can look at any more Nordic fiction for awhile after Asa Larsson’s “The Black Path,” threw me for a loop at the end, for which I’ll have to read comedies or light fiction for awhile, light thrillers, etc.

  3. Kathy, I know what you mean about The Black Path – it left me reeling, too. I do not know of any translated Italian crime fiction with women detectives, I am afraid, but I can certainly recommend Gianrico Carofiglio’s legal series, Poisonville by Massimo Carlotto and coauthor, and Inspector Cataldo’s Criminal Summer (see link to my reviews for details). I do like Donna Leon and Signora Elettra, but I think she is in danger of being a bit of a plot device (wheeled in when someone has a computer problem and then wheeled out again when she’s magically solved it) — I have to say I prefer the native Italian crime fiction to the non-native, on average.

  4. Glad to hear someone else reeled from “The Black Path”; this is the second time that’s happened to me from a book by Asa Larsson.
    I understand what you’re saying, Maxine, about Signora Elettra being a plot device. She is portrayed as a brilliant woman, though, who can outfox her superiors, hack into any system, etc. However, I can glad to see that Lucarelli has a woman detective in a series and two have been translated. I haven’t read much native Italian crime fiction; Inspector Cataldo’s Criminal Vacation has been on my TBR list since I read the review here and I’ll check out Carofiglio and Carlotto. I have to see what my library has, and then, resort to the Book Depository if the library doesn’t have them.

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