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on 7 January 2015
As soon as we walk in through the door we're thrown straight into the action, not even time for an expresso - this is a vibrant city after all. A man has been found dead in a brothel. It looks like suicide - it isn't, but that's an inconvenient truth... brooms sweeping things under the carpet comes to mind. More deaths follow. The pace varies. Sometimes leisurely as we stroll, other times we seem to be hanging around, waiting in dark cool hallways... at other times it feels fast, even rushed. Yet whatever the pace you feel as if you're wading through treacle. Frustration pervades the atmosphere. Corruption and politics at a time when everything is in flux; the war is over and Italy is on the brink of revolution. Everything is up in the air.
De Luca acts as a calming force throughout. He is an island of integrity in a sea of intrigue, arrogance and manipulation. He knows what he's doing, he's no political appointment... yet one constantly feels the ulcer eating away at him, churning his stomach; the frustration is a cancer.
This series, the De Luca trilogy, is masterful. It is superbly written and the translator, Michael Reynolds deserves high praise for making Carlo Lucarelli's wonderful prose available to us. My one criticism, the one disappointment, is that some simple grammatical and spelling errors have crept into this final part of this edition; irritating and distracting.
But the series - read this trilogy. It is superb!
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on 22 March 2016
Of the three books in the trilogy I found this third and final part the most enjoyable read. In this book, each chapter is headlined with newspaper headlines from the time. I found this interesting and enhanced the atmosphere of the turmoil that was taking place in Italy at the time these novels were set. I think the other books would have benefited from this. In the previous books I did find it difficult to work out who was who but this book kept the characters to a minimum. My love of all things Italian enhanced my reading but I think the books are worth a read for anyone interested in crime novels.
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on 13 May 2014
This is a good story nearly ruined by a poor translation. The publishers have gone to some trouble to produce a nicely presented volume; however it is more of a novella at only 156 pages. The murder plot is quite straightforward, the details of 1948 Italian politics highly confusing. Surprisingly, the TV series sticks reasonably closely to the book, and de Luca remains rather a shadowy figure, while lacking the charisma of the actor. I nearly stopped reading at page 53 when a description of a police chief's tic went seriously awry grammatically, and I suspect too literal adherence to the Italian led to numerous infelicities. I did get through to the end, which is left deliberately ambiguous. Interesting but flawed.
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on 10 March 2016
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on 7 November 2014
Hard to read
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2011
Police Commisario (Inspector) De Luca is one of those cops who would like nothing more than to be left along to do his job. He doesn't care much for politics on a global or national scale and doesn't really want to play the sort of political games that could facilitate a cop's climb up the career ladder. But De Luca lives in a turbulent place (Bologna, Italy) during turbulent times (WWII and its immediate aftermath) and the fact that De Luca wants no part of politics does not mean that politics and intrigue won't plague him as he goes about his business. The result has been a trilogy of books that have provided entertaining police stories while at the same time painting a pretty detailed picture of what life may have been like in post-war northern Italy.

"Via Delle Oche" is the final volume in what has come to be known as "The De Luca Trilogy". The trilogy is set in northern Italy and takes us from the closing days of WWII, (Carte Blanche (De Luca Trilogy 1)) to the turbulent years immediately after the war (The Damned Season (De Luca Trilogy 2)) until 1948, the current volume, where a critical post-war national election is at hand. The cold war is raging in Europe and the election is thought to be a critical battlefield. Consequently, the Church, the powerful Italian Communist Party, and various secular partisan political groups engage in the sort of intrigue that would make Machiavelli proud. This election is of no immediate professional consequence for De Luca since he is now, upon his return to Bologna from `exile' in Damned Season, assigned to the vice squad. De Luca doesn't seem to mind the demotion all that much as it keeps him outside the political battles that effect the police force as much as any other Italian institution. But the fates and a murder in a bordello on the Via Delle Oche conspire to put De Luca back where he least wants to be: in the limelight walking a political tightrope.

The strength of "Via Delle Oche" lies in Lucarelli's ability to paint a pretty realistic-feeling portrait of postwar northern Italy in the years immediately after WWII. I got a real sense of time and place while reading these books. Apart from De Luca, Lucarelli does not invest a lot of time in presenting us with a full-blown character analysis of the key parties to the crime and its aftermath. We also don't get a lot of the internal life of De Luca but De Luca's actions tend to speak for themselves and over the course of the books I got a nice feel for his personality without having had Lucarelli spell it out for me.

Although the stories themselves are self-contained I think that the De Luca Trilogy needs to be read in sequence. By the time I came to "Via Delle Oche" the character of Commisario De Luca has been fully formed and the reader will miss out on a lot of context if they have not read the first two volumes. I enjoyed all three books.

All in all Via Delle Oche was a filling end to the De Luca trilogy.
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on 7 August 2012
Via Delle Oche is a short book (133 pages), but unlike the previous two in the trilogy, I didn't feel the story was so under-developed, although it could have benefited from some fleshing out in places. De Luca is a complex, conflicted character and the story captures the atmosphere, politics and corruption of a country in turmoil. I am particularly taken with Lucarelli's storytelling which focuses on what the characters say and do, with little thick description or the use of metaphors or similes. Rather than being dull and lifeless, Lucarelli's prose is rich and the story races along. A fine piece of writing and a satisfying end to the trilogy.
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on 6 November 2008
First Sentence: From the wall a giant Cossack was watching him with a fierce look in his eyes, a bearskin adorned with the red star on his head, and a bayonet between his teeth, one eye deformed by an air bubble trapped beneath the paper.

It's 1948, Italy is recovering after the way and Comm. De Luca is a cop assigned to vice in Bologna. Within days, there have been four closely related murders that no one particularly wants him to investigate. But no matter the division to which he's assigned, De Luca will never turn his back on bringing a killer to justice.

This may have been a novella, but it was fully packed. Lucarelli conveys the instability and uncertainty of the time as a backdrop to a classic police procedural. We don't know a lot about De Luca except the single most important fact: he is a cop, no matter the political pressures being brought to bear. At the same time, he is certainly human in his problems with eating, insomnia and his trademark trench coat.

I'm sorry there are only the three books and I'd love to know more about where De Luca goes from here. Italophiles, those interested in this period of history and those who like a good police procedural should enjoy this.
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on 25 October 2014
Inspector da Luca is a real find.
wish there were more than three books in the series
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