“I am just a Policeman”: The Case of Carlo Lucarelli’s and Maurizio de Giovanni’s Historical Crime Novels Set During Fascism

Barbara Pezzotti

Abstract


This article analyzes two successful Italian novels set during the Ventennio and the Second World War, namely Carlo Lucarelli’s Carta bianca (1990) and Maurizio De Giovanni’s Per mano mia (2011). It shows how Lucarelli confronts the troubling adherence to Fascism through a novel in which investigations are continually hampered by overpowering political forces. By contrast, in spite of expressing an anti-Fascist view, De Giovanni’s novel ends up providing a sanitized version of the Ventennio that allows the protagonist to fulfil his role as a policeman without outward contradictions. By mixing crime fiction and history, Lucarelli intervenes in the revisionist debate of the 1980s and 1990s by attacking the new mythology of the innocent Fascist. Twenty years later, following years of Berlusconi’s propaganda, De Giovanni waters down the hybridization of crime fiction and history with the insertion of romance and the supernatural in order to provide entertaining stories and attract a large audience. In the final analysis, from being functional to political and social criticism in Lucarelli’s series, the fruitful hybridization of crime fiction and history has turned into a mirror of the political and historical de-awareness of Italian society of the 2000s in De Giovanni’s series.


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