Lucarelli, Carlo - 'Carte Blanche' (translated by Michael Reynolds)
CARTE BLANCHE is the first part of the 'De Luca' trilogy which features Commissario De Luca and takes place just before the end of the Second World War in Northern Italy, the part still supporting the Germans.
De Luca has recently switched from the political police force to a more regular police force. When he is called to a murder scene he finds that the dead man has been stabbed twice in his apartment with a knife from his desk. The man had an eye for the ladies and it didn't matter if they were married. This provides a number of suspects already, but the situation is complicated when one political side tries to implicate the other by influencing De Luca's investigation.
Whilst De Luca carries out his duties, being as impartial as he can, his life becomes increasingly endangered.
As well as the evocative cover, the striking thing about CARTE BLANCHE is how authentic the setting feels and how the author has created it and a detective story in so few pages. There is a breathless quality about it. There is much more to be learnt about the insomniac detective and hopefully part two, THE DAMNED SEASON, will provide more information.
A preface by the author describes how he came to write the De Luca books and provides a bit of background to the numerous police forces in operation at that time.
Karen Meek, England