Via Delle Oche by Carlo Lucarelli

Esta entrada es bilingüe. Para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse por la pantalla hacia abajo.

Translated from the Italian by Michael Reynolds. Original title Via delle Oche, 1996. First Publication 2008 by Europa Editions. Second printing, 2009. 156 pages. ISBN: 978-1-933372-53-2.

The action in the final book of De Luca trilogy is set in 1948. De Luca is back in Bologna after the events narrated in The Damned Season two years ago. We know nothing of what has happened to him during this time period but he has been relegated to the status of Special Sub Commissario, assigned to the vice squad. The book opens on his first day at work. De Luca is on his way to report to the chief of police and has a brief encounter with Pugliese. There’s been a homicide that also concerns him. It has happened in a brothel. But when they arrive they realise it may have been a wrong message. A man is hanging from the roof beam by a rope. Apparently he has killed himself. But little escapes the watchful eye of De Luca. The hanging man does have a noose around his neck and an overturned stool beneath him, but when the stool is righted, his feet don’t reach the seat. “Its normal enough that a hanged man grows a little longer if he’s left a while,” he murmured. “But I’ve never heard of one getting shorter.” Puglise turns towards De Luca. Commissario “I sure am glad you’re back!”.

Meanwhile, the war is over and Italy is preparing to hold its first democratic elections. In this disturbing political context De Luca begins to investigate the murder of Ermes Ricotti disguised as a suicide, when his superiors insist that the case is closed. But De Luca is unwilling to look the other way.

As I have already mentioned in a previous post each book comes with an interesting introduction that is worthwhile reading. The story of a real person who inspired De Luca’s character to Lucarelli. De Luca provides the perfect excuse to recreate a crucial time in the history of Italy, a splendid portrait of those very difficult times. Although each book can be read separately only when read in the correct order can be better understand the context in which the story is set. Beautifully written, as the rest of the trilogy, Via delle Oche puts a magnificent end to an admirable and interesting series. Highly recommended.

Via delle Oche has been reviewed by Glenn at International Noir Fiction, Peter at Words without Borders, Norman at Crime Scraps, and Rob at The View from the Blue House.

Europa editions

Via delle Oche de Carlo Lucarelli

La acción en el último libro de El Comisario De Luca se desarrolla en 1948. De Luca ha regresado a Bolonia tras los acontecimientos narrados hace dos años en El verano turbio. No sabemos nada de lo que le ha sucedido durante este periodo de tiempo, pero ha sido relegado a la categoría de subcomisario especial, adscrito a la brigada antivicio. El libro comienza el primer día de regreso a su trabajo. De Luca acude a presentarse al jefe de la policía cuando tiene un breve encuentro con Pugliese. Ha habido un homicidio que también le concierne. Ha ocurrido en un burdel. Pero cuando llegan se dan cuenta de que puede haber sido una falsa alarma. Encuentran a un hombre colgado de la viga del techo por una cuerda. Al parecer, se ha suicidado. Sin embargo, poco escapa a la atenta mirada de De Luca. El hombre ahorcado tiene la soga anudada al cuello y un taburete volcado debajo de él, pero cuando el tauberete se endereza, sus pies no alcanzan a tocarlo. “Es bastante normal que un hombre ahorcado crezca algo al cabo de un rato”, murmuró De Luca. “Pero nunca he oído hablar de uno que haya encogido.” Puglise mirándole dice. Comisario “Me alegro de que hayas vuelto!”.

Mientras tanto, la guerra ha terminado e Italia se prepara para celebrar sus primeras elecciones democráticas. En este preocupante contexto político De Luca comienza a investigar el asesinato de Ermes Ricotti disfrazado como un suicidio, cuando sus superiores insisten en que el caso está cerrado. Sin embargo, De Luca no está dispuesto a mirar hacia otro lado.

Como ya he mencionado en una entrada anterior cada libro viene con una interesante introducción que merece la pena leer. La historia de una persona real que inspiró el personaje de De Luca a Lucarelli. De Luca ofrece la excusa perfecta para recrear un momento crucial en la historia de Italia, un espléndido retrato de aquellos difíciles tiempos. Aunque cada libro puede leerse por separado sólo cuando se leen en el orden correcto se puede comprender mejor el contexto en el que se desarrolla la historia. Muy bien escrito, como el resto de la trilogía, Via delle Oche pone un final magnífico a una serie admirable e interesante. Muy recomendable.

The Damned Season by Carlo Lucarelli

Esta entrada es bilingüe. Para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse por la pantalla hacia abajo.

Translated from the Italian by Michael Reynolds. Original title L’estate torbida, 1991. First Publication 2007 by Europa Editions. Third printing, 2009. 118 pages. ISBN: 978-1-933372-27-3.

This is the second book in “De Luca trilogy”. At the end of Carte Blanche the Allies had crossed the river Po and the days of Mussolini’s regime were numbered. When The Damned Season opens Comissario De Luca is on his way to Rome under a false identity. As Giovanni Morandi, an engineer from Bologna, he is trying to avoid being recognised and arrested by the partisans in control of the Romagna region. During a brief encounter De Luca is recognised by Brigadier Leonardi, Partisan Police. Leonardi had met him before during a police-training course in Genoa. De Luca was a legend, “the most brilliant detective in the Italian police force”.

Leonardi likes his profession. He thinks he is good at it. But needs experience. The experience he gained by his own won’t be enough before long. Everything’s about to change; but the police force always stay the same, doesn’t matter if Togliatti is in power or De Gasperi.

Leonardi has a first case, nothing to do with politics. And it’s a big deal. He wants to solve it. He wants to go to the carabinieri and tell them this and that happen, so-and-so did it and here’s the evidence. But he needs the help of  …of an engineer.

“So, Signor Engineer, are you going to help me with this case or not?
“Why,” he said. “Do I have a choice?”
Leonardi smiled. “No you don’t.”

I loved this book for its capacity to evoke the difficult times of post-war Italy and for the realistic drawing of its characters. A very satisfactory read indeed. It won’t take me long to read the third one in the series. As pointed out by Rob Kitchin, Lucarelli writes on a show don’t tell style that is very effective.  

The Damned Season has been reviewed by Karen at Euro Crime, Rob at The View from the Blue House, Peter at Detectives Beyond Borders, Norman at Crime Scraps,  

El verano turbio de Carlo Lucarelli (El comisario De Luca)

Este es el segundo libro de la trilogía El comisario De Luca. Al final de Carta blanca los aliados habían cruzado el río Po y los días del régimen de Mussolini estaban contados. Cuando comienza El verano turbio el comisario De Luca se dirige a Roma con una identidad falsa. Como Giovanni Morandi, un ingeniero de Bolonia, está intentando evitar ser reconocido y detenido por los partisanos que controlan la región de la Romaña. En un breve encuentro, De Luca es reconocido por el brigadier Leonardi de la policía partisana. Leonardi lo había visto antes, durante un curso de entrenamiento de la policía en Génova. De Luca era una leyenda, “el detective más brillante de la policía italiana“.

A Leonardi le gusta su profesión. Piensa que tiene capacidad para ser policía. Pero le falta experiencia. La experiencia acumulada hasta el momento no le será suficiente dentro de poco tiempo. Todo está a punto de cambiar, pero la policía siempre es la misma, no importa si es Togliatti quien está en el poder o De Gasperi.

Leonardi tiene que resolver su primer caso, un caso que nada que ver con la política. Y es un gran asunto. Él quiere resolverlo. Él quiere ir a los carabineros y decirlos que fue esto o aquello lo que sucedió, que tal o cual lo hizo y que aquí tienen las pruebas. Pero necesita la ayuda de … de un ingeniero.

“Así que, señor ingeniero, ¿Va a ayudarme con este caso o no?
“¿Por qué”, dijo. “¿Tengo alguna opción?”
Leonardi sonrió. “No, no la tiene.”

Me encantó este libro por su capacidad para evocar los tiempos difíciles de la posguerra italiana y por el dibujo realista de sus personajes. Una lectura muy satisfactoria. No voy a tardar en leer el tercero de la serie. Como ha señalado Rob Kitchin, Lucarelli muestra no dice, un estilo que resulta muy eficaz.

How to choose what to read next: Italian Crime Fiction (2)

The four Italian crime fiction writers that presently interest me most are: Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli, Gianrico Carofiglio and Massimo Carlotto. My plans for the next year include to start reading the Montalbano series in order and finished De Luca trilogy, from my TBR pile. From my wish list I will probably buy next Involuntary Witness and Death’s Dark Abyss.

For additional information on Italian Author’s click HERE. More information can be found at Crime Time, Euro Crime and Italian mysteries.

To be continued…..

Carte Blanche by Carlo Lucarelli

carteblancheCarte Blanche is the first installment in Carlo Lucarelli’s “De Luca Trilogy”. The action takes place just before the end of WWII in Northern Italy during the last days of the fascist regime. The book opens with the explosion of a bomb at a funeral procession while Commissario De Luca is on his way to the scene of a crime. De Luca, the Republic’s brightest police investigator, has just been transferred to the police from the fascist Political Police. He has carte blanche, full support, to find the murderer of a member of the Fascist Republican Party, Vittorio Rehinard. Rehinard has been killed and castrated by who knows who with a paper knife; the weapon has gone missing. But soon De Luca understands that neither the police Chief nor the Party Secretary cares about finding the murderer. He is right in the middle of a political struggle. De Luca and his men are being used like soldiers at war who get killed if they are not careful.

From the Publisher: “Carte Blanche is much more than a first-rate crime story. It is also an investigation into the workings of justice in a state that is crumbling under the weight of profound historic change. The “De Luca Trilogy” is set during one of the 20th century’s seminal moments and describes a nation’s ardent search to rediscover its moral bearings after being torn in two by civil strife and political corruption. Threatened by the machinations of a decaying political class, De Luca (himself reminiscent of the disenchanted Dashiell Hammett PI) is a simple man doing a tough job as best he can. Even after closing his investigation, he will still have to face one final, fateful decision.”

This is an original and fast paced police procedural; readers should not miss the preface in which Lucarelli explains the process that took him to write this excellent book. A highly satisfactory experience for my taste and easy to read given its size, slightly above 100 pages. I’m eager to read the rest of his trilogy soon.

Carte Blanche has been reviewed at the complete review, Karen at Euro Crime, International Noir Fiction, Norman at Crime Scraps, Detectives Literarios (in Spanish)

Carlo Lucarelli is one of Italy’s best-loved crime writers. He was born in Parma in 1960. His publishing debut came with the extremely successful De Luca Trilogy (Carte Blanche, The Damned Season, Via delle Oche) in 1990 and he has since published over a dozen novels and collections of stories. He conducts the program Blue Night on Italian network television, and his novels Almost Blue and Lupo Mannaro have both been made into successful films. (From the Publisher).

Carlo Lucarelli Web site (in Italian)

Lucarelli’s profile on Wikipedia (in Italian)

Europa Editions

You may also find of interest: Black & Blue: An Introduction to Mediterranean Noir

Author: Carlo Lucarelli

Title: Carte Blanche

Original title: Carta bianca, 1990

Translated from the Italian by Michael Reynolds

Europa editions, 2006

Number of pages: 120

ISBN: 978-1-933372-15-0