A classic Italian noir novel, from one of the greatest Italian crime writers, translated for the first time.
Milan, 1966. When Doctor Duca Lamberti is released from prison, at the end of his sentence for helping a sick older woman commit suicide, he has few options. He's lost his license to practice, and he has to support his sister who's raising a child alone. But his father had been a policeman, and that means Lamberti still has a connection on the force: Superintendent Luigi Carrua, who sets him up with a job.
The job is a sensitive one: the son of a plastics millionaire is, at the age of twenty-two, an incurable alcoholic. Lamberti is meant to cure him. But he soon discovers that the young man is hiding a terrible secret, one that links him to the unsolved suicide of a woman in an industrial district of Milan several years before. And behind her death is a much, much larger secret--a pornography and prostitution ring that involves blackmail, kidnapping, and the heavy hand of the Mafia. The only way to expose it is to set up a sting operation with the help of a young woman Lamberti meets in his investigations--which means sending an innocent person into the lair of brutal killers. Lamberti must make his way through the Milanese underworld, carrying his desire for justice into a morally murky landscape, where one misstep could prove fatal.
"A noir writer richly deserving rediscovery."
"The Duca Lamberti novels are world-class noir, and their publication in English is long, long overdue"
—The Complete Review
"A gem...a vivid portrait of Milan's seamy underbelly..."
—Crime Fiction Lover
"[Scerbanenco can be] as dark as Leonardo Sciascia, as deadpan realistic as Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, as probing in his observation of people as Simenon, as humane as Camilleri, as noir as Manchette...but with a dark, dark humor all his own. The first-ever English translation of his 1966 novel has to be the year's biggest event yet for readers of translated crime fiction."
—Detectives Beyond Borders