But above all, these books are about place; the place being Italy: Each writer, whether hailing from the UK, US or Italy itself, confesses to an undying love for the people, places and culinary culture of Italy - a consensus that lives and breathes throughout their writing.
|Andreas Camilleri, author of the famous |
Inspector Montalbano series
His debut Montalbano novel, The Shape of Water (2002), was an immediate hit in Italy, spurring Camilleri to write a further 15 Montalbano mysteries. A master of description and suspense, Camilleri switches between comical and incongruous events, covering topical storylines, such as illegal immigration and money laundering.
Peppered with colloquial Sicilian phrases and enriched by Montalbano’s passion for food, Sicily lives through the pages in the smells and tastes of the region; fans are renowned for cooking classic Montalbano recipes, such as sardines rolled in pine-nuts and Sicilian Arancini – favourite dishes in Italy.
Lead by his central character - the Venetian detective, Aurelio Zen -– Dibdin guides us through an exposé of organised crime and corrupt bureaucracy in Italy. Dibdin’s intricate plots are laced with tangled emotional encounters and loaded with sex and violence, giving a disturbing insight to Italy’s vivid underworld. Each of the 11 books in the Aurelio Zen series is set in a different part of Italy, expertly conveyed by Dibdin’s detailed observations of people and place.
In January 2011, three of the Dibdin’s Zen novels – Vendetta (1990), Cabal (1992) and Ratking (1988) - were broadcast as 90-minute films in a BBC TV series, all filmed on location in Italy. End Games (2007) was Dibdin’s final novel in the series, published in the year he passed away.
|Donna Leon a |
Leon’s commissario, Brunetti, is a middle-class family-man, who investigates the high crime that lurks within Italy’s aristocratic society. He works alongside his partner - Vianello; secretary - Elettra; and boss - Giuseppe Patta. Dissecting almost every aspect of modern Italian society, from food and families, to politics and prostitution in Italy, Leon’s novels explore social injustice, hidden evils and human failings, set within one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. Leon completes a new Brunetti each year but refuses to be published in Italian. The latest in the series, Beastly Things, is due out in April 2012.