|Judges by Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo De Cataldo|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Three excellent short stories/novellas. If you enjoy Italian crime then this is the book for you. Definitely recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: May 2014|
|Publisher: MacLehose Press|
I'll confess that it was the name of Andrea Camilleri which brought me to this book. I'm a long-time fan of his Inspector Montalbano series and a recent reading of a spin-off novella had proved to me that the concise nature of his full-length novels was no fluke. In Judges we had another novella - worth buying for its own sake - and the bonus of two more stories from better-than-decent Italian authors. All that was needed was a glass of wine and a comfortable chair. Did the book live up to expectation?
The answer to that is a resounding yes. The three stories are all about judges and the first is Camilleri's Judge Surra, set in nineteenth century Sicily. Surra arrived in Montelusa from Turin, unaccompanied by his wife and son and initially he was puzzled by the quirky welcoming gifts left by the locals - failing completely to recognise the coded messages which rapidly become more ominous. Even an attempt on his life isn't seen as such as Surra goes out to uphold justice, armed only with his determination and his innocence. It's a delightful story which holds you on the edge of laughter - and your seat.
Carlo Lucarelli's The Bambina is darker. Judge Valentina Lorenzi is young and so inexperienced that it's thought that she doesn't really need a bodyguard. Brigadiere Ivano Ferrucci - known to all as Ferro is resentful when he's allocated to the job (and on his own) but his attitude changes when the Bambina barely survives an assassination attempt. It's an abrupt switch into a world where the only people you seem able to trust are the people you really shouldn't trust at all. It's elegantly written and all too believable.
Normally when I hear that something is Kafkaesque I run a mile, but Giancarlo De Cataldo's The Triple Dream of the Prosecutor suspends you neatly between reality and unreality as Prosecutor Ottavio Mandati pursues his lifelong feud - verging on a vendetta - against school mate and now corrupt mayor of Novere, Pierfiliberto Berazzi-Perdico. Kafkaesque the story might be, but it left me wondering about the wider implications of democracy. From thinking that this was going to be a story which I would read but probably not enjoy I found myself thinking about the greater applications of the tale. Surprisingly good!
I finished the book all too quickly and discovered two previously-unknown authors I'd be pleased to read more of - so I'd really like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
The other short story from Andrea Camilleri which I mentioned is Montalbano's First Case. For a UK-based crime short story we can recommend Promises to Keep: A Short Story by Elizabeth Haynes. You can also read more from Carlo Lucarelli in Outsiders.
You can read more book reviews or buy Judges by Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo De Cataldo at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Judges by Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo De Cataldo at Amazon.com.
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