POISONVILLE by Massimo Carlotto


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Screenwriter Videtta must have a calming effect on his collaborator, Italian noir proponent Carlotto (The Fugitive, 2007, etc.): The first fruit of their partnership is a whodunit, though a scorching one.

The night before she’s to marry Francesco Visentin, Giovanna Barovier warns her secret lover that she’s going to tell Francesco all about him. The next morning Francesco finds her drowned in her bathtub. Inspector Mele and prosecutor Zan suspect the bridegroom himself of killing his bride, especially when well-connected Filippo Calchi Renier, the ex-lover who spent the hour after Francesco’s bachelor party driving him around and insisting that Giovanna would never go through with the wedding, refuses to give him an alibi. So Francesco determines to find out exactly what Giovanna meant when she told her friend Carla Pisani that “she had become the slut of the man who had ruined her life.” Since Giovanna was a lawyer who had worked for the firm run by Francesco’s father Antonio, the most distinguished attorney in town, and since everyone within the city limits is committing adultery, fraud or both, Francesco’s quest quickly entangles him in all the economic and civic corruption you’d expect the authors to find in Italy’s ruthlessly industrialized Northeast.

The English-language title, so much more suggestive to fans of American noir than the Italian title Nordest, perfectly encapsulates a Hammett-like world marked by greed, vice and betrayal all the way to the top of the food chain.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-933372-91-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Europa Editions
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2009


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