A Private Note: Duca Lamberti’s Quadrilogy by Giorgio Scerbanenco

This blog entry was intended as a private note. I decided to make it public in case it could be of interest to any regular or sporadic reader of The Game’s Afoot

Giorgio Scerbanenco is considered the father of Italian hard boiled fiction. Born in Kiev from an Ukrainian father and an Italian mother, in what was then the Russian Empire, on 28 July 1911, he immigrated with his family to Rome at an early age. He moved to Milan when he was 18 and worked as a journalist and as a contributor to women’s magazines before becoming a full-time writer. His first books were detective novels set in USA, clearly inspired by the works of Edgar Wallace and S.S. Van Dine, and signed with a pen name that seemed English. Although he cultivated several genres, Scerbanenco is best-known for his crime and detective novels. Many of his books were brought into the big screen or were turned into a TV series. He died of a heart attack in Milan on 27 October 1969. The most prestigious Italian literary prize for crime fiction is named after him. His most famous noir novels, the Duca Lamberti series, comprises the following titles:

The main character, Duca Lamberti, isn’t actually a PI. He’s a former doctor from Milan who was expelled from the Italian Medical Association (for euthanasia) and who freelances for the Polizia di Stato (National Police). Scerbanenco was awarded Le Grand prix de la littérature policière 1968 for his book Traditori di Tutti, which was translated into English by E. Ellenbogen, as Duca and the Milan Murders (Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, 1970) and has just been republished as Betrayal (Hersilia Press, 2014) with a new translation by Howard Curtis.

Betrayal cover


Meme: New to Me Authors January to March of 2014

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise has launched this meme to encourage us to read new authors. It’s easy to join in. All you need to do is write a post about the best crime fiction book by a new (to you anyway) author that you have read during this time frame. And do not forget to visit the links posted by other fellow participants to discover even more books to read.

In the first quarter of this year I’ve read seventeen books of which nine were by new (to me anyway) authors.You can see my reviews by clicking on the book title:

  • The End of the Wasp Season (Orion, 2012) by Denise Mina (B)
  • Visitation Street (Dennis Lehane Books/Ecco, 2013) by Ivy Pochoda (A+)
  • The Disappeared (Simon & Schuster, 2013) Translated by Marlaine Delargy (2013). First published in Sweden under the title Änglavakter (2011) by Kristina Ohlsson (B)
  • El loco de Bergerac (Ediciones Orbis, 1985) Traducido por Carmen Virgili (1968). Título original Le fou de Bergerac (1932), de George Simenon (B)
  • Summertime All The Cats Are Bored (Europa Editions, 2013) Translated from the French by Steven Rendall. Original title: L’été tous les chats s’ennuient (2009) by Philippe Georget (B)
  • The Panda Theory (Gallic Books, 2012) Translated by Svein Clouston. Original title: La Théorie du panda (2008) by Pascal Garnier (A)
  • Sadie When She Died (Pan Books Ltd, 1974) Paperback edition. First published in 1972, by Ed McBain (A)
  • The Inspector Barlach Mysteries (The Judge and His Hangman + Suspicion) (The University of Chicago Press, 2006). Translated by Joel Agee. Original titles, Der Richter und sein Henker and Der Verdacht by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (A) & (C)

    My favourite was Visitation Street, but I’m also very keen to read other books by Pascal Garnier and I’m planning to read soon Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Pledge. I’ve also finished reading yesterday the excellent The City of Shadows by Michael Russell. It will be the first book in the next edition of this meme at the end of June 2014. My review will be ready soon. Stay tuned.

    Read HERE what other fellow participants have read.

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