The CWA Gold Dagger 2012 long list

The eight books long listed for the CWA Gold Dagger 2012 are:

A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash (Transworld/Bantam)
Vengeance in Mind by N.J. Cooper (Simon & Schuster)
Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill (Quercus)
The Flight by M.R. Hall (Mantle)
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan (Vintage)
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (Harvill Secker)
The Child Who by Simon Lelic (Mantle)
Bereft by Chris Womersley (Quercus)

You can find HERE my review of The Rage the only book in the list I’ve read so far, and HERE some additional information.

The CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2012

Icelight by Aly Monroe and published by John Murray has been announced as the winner of the 2012 CWA Ellis Peters Dagger.

The other six books in contention for the Dagger this year were:
The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau (Orion)
I Will Have Vengeance by Maurizio de Giovanni (Hersilia Press)
Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris (Corvus)
Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr (Quercus)
Sacrilege by SJ Parris (HarperCollins)
A Willing Victim by Laura Wilson (Quercus)

You can find HERE additional information.

CWA International Dagger 2012 Winner

The Potter’s Field by Andrea Camilleri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli and published by Mantle has been announced as the winner of the 2012 CWA International Dagger. You can find HERE my review and the rest of the information is HERE.

This Dagger is a competition for crime, thriller, suspense or spy fiction novels which have been translated into English from their original language, for UK publication. The the other five books shortlisted for the Dagger this year were:

I will have Vengeance by Maurizio de Giovanni, translated by Anne Milano Appel (Hersilia Press)
Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Åsa Larsson, translated by Laurie Thompson (Quercus/Maclehose)
Trackers by Deon Meyer, translated by T K L Seegers (Hodder & Stoughton)
Phantom by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker)
The Dark Valley by Valerio Varesi, translated by Joseph Farrell (Quercus/Maclehose)

Congratulations to the winners. I have to emphasise the quality of this year shortlist. Although I’m a big fan of Andrea Camilleri, my favourites were: Trackers and Until Thy Wrath Be Past. I read most of the books in the list except The Dark Valley, stay tuned.

Reseña: Venus Privada de Giorgio Scerbanenco

This post is bilingual, scroll down for the English language version

Traducción Cuqui Weller. Título original: Venere privata. [Versión Kindle] 538 KB. Ediciones Akal, S. A., 2012. ASIN: B007NVZX8S. 224 páginas. ISBN: 978-84-460-3541-1.

Giorgio Scerbanenco, escritor y periodista italiano de origen ucraniano, nació en 1911 en Kiev (entonces parte del Imperio Ruso) de padre ucraniano y madre italiana. Está considerado por muchos el padre de la novela negra italiana (Giallo). En 1940 publicó su primera novela policíaca, protagonizadas por Arthur Jelling, archivero del Departamento de Policía de Boston, Sei giorni di preavviso, la primera en una serie de seis, pero el éxito no le llegó hasta 1966 cuando publicó Venere privata, la primera en una serie de cuatro protagonizadas por Duca Lamberti. En 1968 fue reconocido internacionalmente al ganar el Grand Prix de Littérature Policière con su novela Traditori di tutti. Su muerte en 1969 puso fin a esta serie. Desde 1993 el premio de novela negra más prestigioso de Italia lleva su nombre, el Premio Scerbanenco,

Los cuatro libros de la serie protagonizada por Duca Lamberti están disposibles en castellano: Venere privata, 1966 (Venus Privada, Akal 2012); Traditori di tutti, 1966 (Traidores a todos, Akal 2009); I ragazzi del massacro, 1968 (Muerte en la escuela, Akal 2010); I milanesi ammazzano al sabato, 1969. (Los Milaneses matan en sábado, Akal 2011). Existe una edición de Venus privada de 1967 de Noguer y varias ediciones de Los Milaneses matan en sábado de Noguer, 1970; Bruguera, 1980 y Planeta, 1985.

Su personaje principal Duca Lamberti es un médico italiano que fue declarado culpable de practicar la eutanasia. Acaba de salir de la cárcel donde ha pasado los últimos tres años y, expulsado del Colegio de Médicos, no puede ejercer la medicina. 

Con la ayuda de un amigo de su padre, el comisario Carrua, Duca Lamberti es contratado por el Dr. Pietro Auseri para curar a su hijo de veinte años. Davide Auseri mide casi dos metros de altura y pesa unos noventa kilos y debido a su timidez, se le considera tonto. Desde hace un año se emborracha a diario. Su padre quiere encontrar a alguien que pueda ayudarle a dejar de beber. El Dr. Auseri está dispuesto a pagar bien y Duca Lamberti necesita el dinero.

Pronto Lamberti encuentra el secreto que había llevado a Davide a beber. Hace un año que abandonó a una mujer en una autopista y su cuerpo fue encontrado cerca del lugar donde él la dejó. Se suicidó cortándose las muñecas. Ella le dijo a Davide que iba a hacerlo y Davide se siente culpable desde entonces. Pero algo llamó la atención de Lamberti, se necesita un objeto afilado para cortarse las venas y, de acuerdo con los informes de la policía, no había ningún objeto punzante cerca de su cadáver.

Me doy cuenta de que es difícil hoy en día juzgar una novela publicada en los años sesenta, sin tener en cuenta el momento en que fue escrita. Por otra parte reconozco su importancia histórica, pero hay algunos elementos en sus páginas, como la homofobia, que son difíciles de aceptar en la actualidad. Las actitudes y los comportamientos de algunos personajes me han parecido ridículos. Sinceramente tengo que admitir que no tengo ningún interés por leer el resto de los libros de la serie. En mi opinión esta novela no ha envejecido bien y no pasa la prueba del tiempo. Lo que he encontrado más interesante es la breve autobiografía de Scerbanenco que se puede encontrar al final del libro.

Mi valoración: 3/5

Venus privada ha sido reseñada de forma más favorable en Prótesis, Detectives privados, Ricardo Bosque,


A Private Venus by Giorgio Scerbanenco

Giorgio Scerbanenco, Italian writer and journalist of Ukrainian origin, was born in 1911 in Kiev (then part of the Russian Empire) of Ukrainian father and Italian mother. He is considered by many the father of Italian crime fiction (Giallo). In 1940 he published his first detective fiction featuring Arthur Jelling, an archivist in Boston Police Department, Sei giorni di preavviso, the first in a series of six, but success did not arrived until 1966 when he published Venere privata (A Private Venus), the first in a series of four featuring Duca Lamberti. In 1968 he was internationally recognized after winning the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière with his novel Traditori di tutti. His death in 1969 put an end to this series. Since 1993, the most prestigious literary award for crime fiction in Italy, bears his name, the Scerbanenco Prize. 

The four books in the Duca Lamberti series are: Venere privata, 1966 (A Private Venus, Hersilia Press 2012), Traditori di tutti (1966), I ragazzi del massacro (1968) and I milanesi ammazzano al sabato (1968).

His main character, Duca Lamberti, is an Italian physician that was convicted of practising euthanasia. He has just been released from prison where he has spent the last three years and, expelled from the College of Physicians, he can’t practice medicine. 

With the help of his father’s friend, comissario Carrua, Duca Lamberti is hired by Dr. Pietro Auseri to cure his son of twenty-years-old. Davide Auseri is nearly six feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds and because of his shyness, he is regarded stupid. Since a year ago he gets drunk every day. His father wants to find someone who can help him to give up drinking. Dr. Auseri is willing to pay well and Duca Lamberti needs the money.

Soon Lamberti finds the secret that had led Davide to drink. A year ago he abandoned a woman on a motorway and her body was found near to the place where he left her. She killed herself by cutting her wrists. She told Davide that she was going to do so and Davide feels guilty since then. But something caught Lamberti attention, you need a sharp object to slash your wrists and, according to police reports, no sharp object was found near her corpse

I realise that it is difficult today to judge a novel published in the sixties, without taking into account the time when it was written. Moreover I recognise its historical significance, but there are some elements in its pages, like homophobia, that are hard to accept today. The attitudes and behaviours of some characters seem ludicrous. Honestly I have to admit I have no further  interest in the rest of the books in the series. In my view this novel has not aged well and does not pass the test of time. What I found most interesting is the short autobiography of Scerbanenco that can be found at the end of the book.

My rating: 3/5.