Italian, or Italian-based, crime novels I have always enjoyed, and there are plenty of authors to choose from. My favourite has to be Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian writer and creator of Inspector Salvo Montalbano. The Montalbano series are full of humour, the Sicilian landscape, Sicilian society and food! Montalbano loves his food! There is not a concentration on the mafia, just in case you might think there might be, which for me is good, but it is never far away. The crimes can be of ones of passion or greed or revenge, and the author does not go into morbid details, which may be a relief to some also. I always wait impatiently for the next instalment of Camilleri's genius. The first in the series is The Shape of Water (english translation 2002, original Italian 1994), while I await the arrival this June of the twelfth in the series, The Track of Sand. Each book has been such a huge pleasure to read, I always hate getting to the end.
Inspector Montalbano Series
- The Shape of Water (1994, engl.tr. 2002)
- The Terracotta Dog (1996, engl. tr. 2002)
- The Snack Thief (1996, engl. tr. 2003)
- Voice of the Violin (1997, engl. tr. 2003)
- Excursion To Tindari (2000, engl. tr. 2005)
- The Scent of the Night (2001, engl. tr. 2005)
- Rounding the Mark (2003, engl. tr. 2006)
- The Patience of the Spider (2004, engl. tr. 2007)
- The Paper Moon (2005, engl. tr. 2008)
- August Heat (2006, engl. tr. 2009)
- The Wings of the Sphinx (2006, engl. tr. 2009)
- The Track of Sand (2008, engl. tr. 2010)
- The Potters Field (2008, engl. tr. 2011)
Next up is 'The Age of Doubt', due I understand 29 May, 2012.
Food is also central to another of my favourites, and although the author is not herself Italian by birth, I would label her an honorary Italian and Venetian having lived there for over 25 years. The author in question is Donna Leon, the books themselves are mostly set in Venice, and I have loved the books ever since I was first introduced to them by a good friend (a good friend will always introduce you to a wonderful book!). The main characters, Commissario Guido Brunetti and his wife and university lecturer Paola are wonderful creations and you very quickly warm to them. Guido, like Salvo Montalbano, loves his food and is not adverse to slipping out and away from an investigation to seek out some tasty dish in a favourite restaurant, or even more to his liking, home for his wife's wonderful cooking. The first in the series is Death at La Fenice (1992), and the twentieth in the series, Drawing Conclusions, is due for release this week in fact (April 7th)!
Talking of food, a fabulous book I received from a good friend also is Brunetti's Cookbook (Amazon) (Recipes by Roberta Pianaro, culinary stories by Donna Leon) - we haven't got it in stock so I must recommend it for purchase!
- Death at La Fenice (1992)
- Death in a Strange Country (1993)
- The Anonymous Venetian (1994) aka Dressed for Death
- A Venetian Reckoning (1995) aka Death and Judgment
- Acqua Alta (1996) aka Death in High Water
- The Death of Faith (1997) aka Quietly in Their Sleep
- A Noble Radiance (1997)
- Fatal Remedies (1999)
- Friends in High Places (2000)
- A Sea of Troubles (2001)
- Wilful Behaviour (2002)
- Uniform Justice (2003)
- Doctored Evidence (2004)
- Blood from a Stone (2005)
- Through a Glass, Darkly (2006)
- Suffer the Little Children (2007)
- The Girl of His Dreams (2008)
- About Face (2009)
- A Question of Belief (2010)
- Drawing Conclusions (2011)
Due in April, 2012, Beastly Things.
But there are others too I can recommend, and to name but a few - Niccolo Ammaniti (I'm Not Scared, 2004), Gianrico Carofiglio (Involuntary Witness, 2005, also Reasonable Doubts, 2007), Carlotto Massimo (The Colombian Mule, 2003, but alas, not in stock!), Carlo Lucarelli (Day after Day, 2005), and of course another non-Italian I have to include, Michael Dibdin. Dibdin died in 2007 just after he finished what was I understand to be the last in the series starring Detective Aurelio Zen, End Games. The first in the series is Ratking (1988), and there are eleven titles in total. I think my favourite is Medusa, but they are all excellent.
You might also like to read about a programme on Italian crime fiction that was shown on BBC TV in December, 2010.
So plenty of Italian or Italian-based crime novels there to be read! Now get reading, and I hope you enjoy!