Thursday, October 14, 2010
Foreign Forgotten Friday
I've been working my way through the overlooked Commissario Trotti series by Timothy Williams, and this week I'm only going to give some highlights of Black August, the 4th novel in the series, which holds up the high standard that the author set in the first 3.
this one zeroes in even more closely on the irritable Trotti himself. Evidence of a possible suicide by drowning have appeared, and then an old friend of Trotti's (from the first novel) is discovered murdered in her apartment. Trotti's daughter, Pioppi, is expecting her first child (in Bologna) and the detective is anxiously awaiting news. He's warned off the murder investigation (since he's not part of the new Murder Squad) but continues to pursue it in his own way, giving evidence of why the Questore (sort of a police chief) doesn't trust him.
Trotti rides roughshod over his assistants, other cops, witnesses, and informants—getting to the truth but at considerable cost. Black August takes Williams's investigation of this difficult character to new levels. The city (more or less Pavia) is evoked in detail, and some of Italy's ongoing social problems (in particular immigration and the lack of facilities to care for the mentally ill) are a major focus.
If you haven't discovered the Trotti books, and if you're willing to do some work (Williams doesn't spoon-feed readers, and a lot of the dialogue is indirect in an interesting but oblique manner), all of them are highly recommended (if you can find them). Crime fiction publishers are missing a bet by not picking up the series (especially since Williams says that a sixth, unpublished novel is finished).