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.