Investigating Italy's Past through Historical Crime Fiction, Films, and TV Series

Murder in the Age of Chaos

  • Barbara Pezzotti

Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Barbara Pezzotti
    Pages 1-10
  3. Barbara Pezzotti
    Pages 237-242
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 243-270

About this book


This book is the first monograph in English that comprehensively examines the ways in which Italian historical crime novels, TV series, and films have become a means to intervene in the social and political changes of the country. This study explores the ways in which fictional representations of the past mirror contemporaneous anxieties within Italian society in the work of writers such as Leonardo Sciascia, Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli, Francesco Guccini, Loriano Macchiavelli, Marcello Fois, Maurizio De Giovanni, and Giancarlo De Cataldo; film directors such as Elio Petri, Pietro Germi, Michele Placido, and Damiano Damiani; and TV series such as the “Commissario De Luca” series, the “Commissario Nardone” series, and “Romanzo criminale–The series.”  Providing the most wide-ranging examination of this sub-genre in Italy, Barbara Pezzotti places works set in the Risorgimento, WWII, and the Years of Lead in the larger social and political context of contemporary Italy.

“With this book, Pezzotti further cements her reputation as the foremost expert on the intersection of place, history, and national identity in Italian crime fiction. Essential reading.” (Robert Rushing, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA) 

“Pezzotti’s fine book presents an authoritative overview of recent Italian crime fiction. Lucidly written and compellingly interdisciplinary, this book emphasises the capacity of crime fiction to fill in the gaps left by historians, and the power and relevance of cultural responses to a contested and difficult past.” (Philip Cooke, Professor of Italian History and Culture, University of Strathclyde, UK)

"Pezzotti's fascinating study shows how crime fiction has been used to probe and question Italy's historical open wounds and unresolved legacies. The Risorgimento, Fascism and the war, and the anni di piombo are each carefully illuminated in turn through the lens and intelligent eye of the contemporary giallo." (Robert S. C Gordon, Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge, UK)


1 historical crime fiction 2 Italian society 3 Risorgimento 4 political change 5 conspiracy novel

Authors and affiliations

  • Barbara Pezzotti
    • 1
  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

Bibliographic information