Review: Three-Card Monte by Marco Malvaldi


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Europa Editions, 2014. Kindle Format (945 KB) Originally published in 2008 by Sellerio editore as Il gioco delle tre carte. Translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis. ASIN: B00IOE4M44 ISBN: 978-1-60945-216-2. Pages 224.  

https://i0.wp.com/www.europaeditions.com/archivio/libri/dettaglio_280.gifThe book description reads: This new novel by Marco Malvaldi marks the return of the investigative quartet nicknamed the “senile squad.” At the Bar Lume, with the exception of the bartender Massimo and his assistant, the beautiful Tiziana, the youngest regular is Aldo, seventy-something owner of the Osteria Boccaccio. The principal, indeed the only activity, in which the septua- and octogenarians engage in is sitting around at the Bar Lume playing cards and analyzing, postulating, gossiping, and chronicling every event that occurs in their small Tuscan town, their talk laced with colorful Tuscan slang and figures of speech. Massimo, all intuition but tending toward inaction, is obliged to investigate a homicide. The old-timers provide a running commentary and play devil’s advocate to any and all theories concerning the perpetrators of the crime in question. Their cunning at three-card monte has taught them how to see past to the truth that lies beneath appearances. A comedy, a beguiling mystery, and a vivacious portrait of small-town Italy all wrapped into one. (Europa Editions)

Marco Malvaldi (Pisa, 1974). is an Italian chemist and novelist, who began his writing career in 2007 with his first mystery story La briscola in cinque (Game for Five), published by the Italian Sellerio Editore and featuring Massimo, the barista and owner of the cleverly named Bar Lume (“Bar Light”, also a wordplay for “flicker, glimmer of light”) who is forced into the role of investigator in the fictional seaside resort town of Pineta, along the Tuscan coast. He followed up by other episodes in the series: Il gioco delle tre carte (Three-Card Monte) (2008), Il re dei giochi (The King of Games) (2010), La carta più alta (The Highest Card) (2012).The four books comprising the Bar Lume series, have the same characters in each episode: the barista Massimo, the four aged regular patrons (Massimo’s grandfather Ampelio, Aldo, Rimediotti, and Del Tacca — often speaking in the local Tuscan dialect), obtuse Inspector Fusco, and sexy bar assistant Tiziana. (Source: Wikipedia)

Three-Card Monte is the second novel in the Bar Lume series. The story revolves around the death of a Japanese scientist at a local hotel during the celebration of the Twelfth International Workshop on Macromolecular and Biomacromolecular Chemistry. Our protagonist Massimo, the owner of Bar Lume, finds himself involved in the case to assist the police thanks to his English language skills. And, finally, the mystery of the death of the Japanese scientist will be solved with the help of his powers of observation. It should be noted that the crime plays a secondary role in the plot. In my view this book is more a comedy of manners which has a crime as a backdrop. But anyway, it’s a light, pleasant and easy to read comedy. And I am quite convinced that the reader will not lose the smile throughout the reading. I’ve seen that Malvaldi has been compared, in some instances, with Camilleri but, frankly, this seems to me an exaggeration. Although, it is an enjoyable read that serves to spend a pleasant time. 

My rating: B (I really liked it)

Three-Card Monte has been reviewed at Crime Scraps Review (Norman), Seeing The World Through Books (Mary Whipple), and The Complete Review among others.

Sellerio

Europa Editions

El juego de las tres cartas de Marco Malvaldi

https://i1.wp.com/static4.planetadelibros.com/usuaris/libros/fotos/70/original/el-juego-de-las-tres-cartas_9788423329601.jpg

La descripción del libro dice: Esta nueva novela de Marco Malvaldi marca el regreso del cuarteto investigador apodado “el pelotón senil” En el Bar Lume, con la excepción de su dueño Massimo y de su ayudante, la hermosa Tiziana, el más joven de los habituales es Aldo, setenta y tantos años y propietario de la casa de comidas Boccaccio. La principal y de hecho única actividad en la que los septua- y octogenarios participan es sentarse en en el Bar Lume para jugar a las cartas y analizar, suponer, chismorrear y registrar todos y cada unos de los sucesos que tienen lugar en su pequeño pueblo de la Toscana, su charla se ve adornada con el colorido argot de la Toscana y con frases retóricas. Massimo, todo intuición aunque con tendencia a la inactividad, se ve obligado a investigar un homicidio. Los veteranos proporcionan continuos comentarios y hacen de abogado del diablo de todas y cada una de las teorías relativas a los autores del crimen en cuestión. Su astucia en el juego de las tres cartas les ha enseñado a ver más allá de lo que esconden las apariencias. Una comedia, un misterio seductor, y un retrato vivo de una Italia de provincias, todo en uno. (Ediciones Europa, mi traducción libre)

Marco Malvaldi nació en Pisa en 1974. Químico teórico en la Universidad de Pisa, con su serie de novelas sobre los jubilados del Bar Lume que se inicia con La brisca de cinco (Destino 2012), consiguió el apoyo unánime de los libreros de toda Italia, definitivo para consagrarle entre los lectores.

El juego de las tres cartas es la segunda novela de la serie Bar Lume. La historia gira en torno a la muerte de un científico japonés en un hotel de la localidad durante la celebración del XII Congreso Internacional de Química Macromolécular y Biomacromolecular. Nuestro protagonista Massimo, el propietario del Bar Lume, se ve involucrado en el caso para ayudar a la policía, gracias a sus conocimientos del idioma Inglés. Y, finalmente, el misterio de la muerte del científico japonés será resuelto con la ayuda de sus poderes de observación. Cabe señalar que el crimen desempeña un papel secundario en la trama. En mi opinión, este libro es más una comedia de costumbres que tiene un crimen como telón de fondo. Pero de todos modos, es una comedia ligera, agradable y fácil de leer. Y estoy convencido de que el lector no perderá la sonrisa durante toda la lectura. He visto que Malvaldi ha sido comparado, en algunos casos, con Camilleri pero, francamente, esto me parece una exageración. Aunque, se trata de una lectura divertdida que sirve para pasar un rato agradable.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó mucho)

Ver otras reseñas de El juego de las tres cartas en Interrobang, Liberty Café, El Placer de la Lectura, Revista Krítika y Un libro al día

Sellerio

Planeta de Libros

3 thoughts on “Review: Three-Card Monte by Marco Malvaldi

  1. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Game for Five, especially the banter between Massimo and old guys hanging out in the bar. How does Three-Card Monte compare with the first in the series? Did you prefer Game for Five?

    • I’m afraid I’ve not read Game for Five, Jacqui. My inveterate habit to start the series in no particular order. But if you enjoyed the first one, from what I’ve read, you won’t be dissapointed with this one.

  2. Pingback: International Dagger Speculation (2015) | The Game's Afoot

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