No-One Loves a Policeman Hardcover – 29 Apr 2010
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'Dazzling... Orsi's mordant, reluctant detective is definitely a one-off' Joan Smith, The Times. (The Times)
'From the halcyon time of Dashiell Hammett onwards, the detective story has been pressed into service for a pitiless dissection of a corrupt society; Orsi shows that the strategy still has plenty of mileage' Barry Forshaw, Independent. (Independent)
'...fast-moving, cynical, and witty ... Chandlerian in its steamy narrative, the story is about a country and its people going nowhere very fast indeed ... Set against a backdrop of Argentina in meltdown, it is a strongly atmospheric novel ... Of course, he [Guillermo Orsi] writes like a journalist - immediate, living prose that reads as though it was written yesterday' Bookgroup Info, Paula McMaster. (Bookgroup Info)
'Wonderfully evocative and cynical, it captures Buenos Aires with a delicate precision - you can hear the tango as you turn the pages' Geoffrey Wansell, The Daily Mail. (Daily Mail)
From the Inside Flap
It is December 2001 and Argentina is in political and economic meltdown, riddled with corruption, and undermined by cynicism and indifference.
Pablo Martelli, once in an elite branch of the police force known to all as the 'National Shame', is a shadow of his former self. Now he scrapes by as a bathroom-appliance salesman and lives alone, with his cat for company. He cannot put out of his mind the enigmatic woman he met in the dance halls of Buenos Aires, with whom he had a passionate affair. She left him when she found out who he was working for, and he has never recovered.
Late one evening, Martelli is summoned to a friend's coastal retreat. By the time he arrives some hours later, the friend is dead and his girlfriend has vanished. Although no longer connected to the force, Martelli is still a policeman to the core. As he attempts to discover what has happened, he finds himself drawn into a bewildering sequence of events, on an odyssey that leads him through the vast, empty pampas, along endless highways and into ghost towns seething with danger and brutality, to the ailing heart of his country. Before long he is forced to uncover the truth of his past life. It is a dangerous confession: after all, no-one loves a policeman.
With its rich, dark humour, a host of extraordinary characters and plenty of smoking guns, No-one Loves a Policeman is a love story, a sophisticated thriller, and a startling portrait of a country in crisis.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's never a dull moment.
It's set in Argentina at a time when everything is falling apart. The first time I went there friends told me they have more psychiatrists per head than anywhere in the world. No wonder: from being the fourth richest country in the world it has gone down and down ever since the days of the fascist Peron and his much overrated wife. What they started has been accelerated by an extraordinarily corrupt political establishment and murderously unpleasant armed forces.
But the book is not just about a very strange country: it features some very strange people, most of whom spend their time drinking, stabbing, beating up, blowing up, shooting, betraying and behaving in a generally violent and untrustworthy manner for 281 highly entertaining pages.
A high percentage of Argentines are of Italian origin, and I was reminded of some of the best Italian noir. Not quite as good as Camilleri, but quite close.
This gives the flavour:
"It is every man's dream to find a beautiful naked woman aged no more than twenty-five in bed beside him. What happens next depends on one's condition and the circumstances. That morning (and from that moment on) my condition was not what it might have been, but there was still a little something there if sufficiently tempted. The circumstances however could not have been worse.
The naked woman was Lorena. She was dead."
If that made you smile, read it.
Set in 2001, Argentina is on the brink of financial ruin, the economy preparing to take a nosedive - not for the first time - and where anyone who could afford to do so was buying up dollars and discarding pesos. But with the banks enforcing a restriction on the amount customers were allowed to withdraw, Argentina was on a precipice.
The most endearing thing I took from this book was Guillermo's humour told through the eyes and ears of Pablo Martelli's narration. Martelli, the main protagonist, is an ageing toilet salesman, sorry a salesman of bathroom furniture who used to be a policeman - but he doesn't tell anyone that - the policeman's lot isn't a happy one in Argentina! Martelli was once a member of a federal police department better known as the "National Shame". From the very first chapter we get a flavour of Martelli's character when he bemoans receiving phone calls after midnight - it never brings him good news and his latest post-midnight call is no exception!
No-one loves a policeman reminded me of a road trip made by four ageing characters - two current policemen, a bathroom furniture salesman and a portly doctor - all have seen better days but together they formed the three musketeers -slightly decrepit - but musketeers nonetheless! We travel up and down Argentina through Guillermo's vision of a country in strife.Read more ›
Rambling - an unbelievable storyline with character and narrative switches that frequently lose you - the hero moves from narrator to protagonist to philosopher in a manner that is frequently confusing.