Traitors to All (Duca Lamberti Series #2)

Overview

From the godfather of Italian noir

“A noir writer richly deserving rediscovery.” 
—Publishers Weekly

One balmy spring evening on the outskirts of Milan, a Fiat with two passengers plunges into a canal. At first, their deaths are registered as an accident.

But Duca Lamberti, the doctor-turned-detective of Giorgio Scerbanenco’s legendary series, suspects there’s more to it than that. Because that same canal has been the scene of other deaths, and...

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Traitors to All (Duca Lamberti Series #2)

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Overview

From the godfather of Italian noir

“A noir writer richly deserving rediscovery.” 
—Publishers Weekly

One balmy spring evening on the outskirts of Milan, a Fiat with two passengers plunges into a canal. At first, their deaths are registered as an accident.

But Duca Lamberti, the doctor-turned-detective of Giorgio Scerbanenco’s legendary series, suspects there’s more to it than that. Because that same canal has been the scene of other deaths, and all the incidents have one man in common: a lawyer with a murky past stretching all the way back to World War II—a man who, in fact, once shared a prison cell with Lamberti.

Winner of the most prestigious European crime prize on its original publication in 1966, Traitors to All is classic noir by one of the greatest writers of the genre—a book that lays bare the connections between Milan’s troubled history during the war and its swinging sixties affluence, as well as an utterly absorbing tale of betrayal and revenge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Giorgio Scerbanenco

“Beautifully bleak... This is dark stuff, but so well rendered and conceived by Scerbanenco that it's also entirely satisfying. A superior thriller."
Complete Review

“Giorgio Scerbanenco’s reissued 1966 crime noir is a perfect beach read, and cooler than a chilled Negroni.”
Barnes & Noble Review

“Compelling.”
Wall Street Journal

“A gem . . . A vivid portrait of Milan’s seamy underbelly . . . Scerbanenco reveals Duca Lamberti to us; in doing so, he also unveils the Italian hardboiled hero.”
Crime Fiction Lover

“Scerbanenco’s dark, moody novels have much in common with the darkest of Scandinavian crime fiction . . . This forgotten noir classic from 1966 is finally available in translation. That’s good news!”
—Library Journal

“There is courage in his books, the courage to call things by their name . . . No filters shield you from the reality, which is as desperate, fierce, and stark as in the best novels of James Ellroy or Jim Thompson.” 
—Carlo Lucarelli

“[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.”
—Detectives Beyond Borders

“The Duca Lamberti novels are world-class noir, and their publication in English is long, long overdue.”
The Complete Review

"A blast from the past, a sleek, stripped-down reminder of the fast, brutal days of Continental noir."
Kirkus

From the Publisher
Praise for Giorgio Scerbanenco

“Compelling.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A gem . . . A vivid portrait of Milan’s seamy underbelly . . . Scerbanenco reveals Duca Lamberti to us; in doing so, he also unveils the Italian hardboiled hero.”
Crime Fiction Lover

“Scerbanenco’s dark, moody novels have much in common with the darkest of Scandinavian crime fiction . . . This forgotten noir classic from 1966 is finally available in translation. That’s good news!”
—Library Journal

“There is courage in his books, the courage to call things by their name . . . No filters shield you from the reality, which is as desperate, fierce, and stark as in the best novels of James Ellroy or Jim Thompson.” 
—Carlo Lucarelli

“[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.”
—Detectives Beyond Borders

“The Duca Lamberti novels are world-class noir, and their publication in English is long, long overdue.”
The Complete Review

"A blast from the past, a sleek, stripped-down reminder of the fast, brutal days of Continental noir."
Kirkus

Library Journal
★ 05/15/2014
Originally published in 1966 and now finally translated into English, Scerbanenco's first book in his award-winning Milano Quartet, A Private Venus, is an arresting noir novel that examines the themes of alcoholism, deviant sex, remorse, retribution, and murder. Duca Lamberti, the antihero protagonist, is a disbarred doctor just out of prison after serving three years for the assisted suicide of a terminally ill woman. He has a penchant for making bad choices, opposing authority, and being obstinate—a potent mix of personality traits for a successful noir lead character. He is hired by a rich industrialist to babysit his wayward son, an apparent chronic alcoholic. Behind the son's behavior there is a secret—the murder of a young woman.Traitors to All is even more impressive. It's not surprising that it won the most prestigious European crime fiction prize, the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. The novel is astonishing—bleak to the bone with great dialog, black humor, unforgettable characters, and a complex plot that is not in the least heavy-handed. Duca is asked to investigate a drowning, which the police have dismissed as an accident. The ultimate denouement is thoroughly satisfying. The sense of time and place (1960s Milan) is palpable and impeccable. Scerbanenco's prose is brilliant and disquieting. It's a shock to realize how powerful European noir writing was 40 to 50 years ago. VERDICT Brave and beautiful, these novels are highly recommended for fans of literary noir; Scerbanenco's appellation as godfather of Italian Noir is not hyperbole.—Seamus Scanlon, Ctr. for Worker Education, CUNY
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-17
After three years in prison for euthanasia, Dr. Duca Lamberti (A Private Venus, 2014) returns to the practice of medicine in an equally unlawful and even more sordid way in this second volume of the noirish Milano Quartet, first published in Italy in 1966.Lamberti's medical license has never been restored, but that amounts to a positive recommendation for Silvano Solvere, who's looking for someone to perform a hymenoplasty on a nice girl who wants her bridegroom to believe that she's never had sex. The procedure goes smoothly enough, and Giovanna Marelli returns to her fiance, butcher Ulrico Brambilla, a virgin once more. Only two things bother Lamberti: the fact that Solvere invoked the name of attorney Turiddu Sompani as an introduction to Lamberti and the fact that he left behind a suitcase to be kept until called for. Sompani's Fiat has just gone into a canal, the Alzaia Naviglio Pavese, with the lawyer and his cousin Adele Terrini, aka Adele the whore, inside. And the suitcase turns out to contain a beautifully engineered submachine gun. With the help of his friend Superintendant Luigi Carrua of the Milan Police, Lamberti decides to accompany Margherita, the young lioness sent to pick up the parcel, to her own drop-off. The trail will take them from private to ever-escalating public vice: a ring of drug and arms smugglers, a rash of deaths past and present, and a shameful betrayal reaching back to WWII.Carrua is right on the money when he tells Lamberti, "[y]ou want to eat up the criminals." This illegal doctor's righteous fury comes to a head with the most admirable character in the cast facing a long prison term.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612193663
  • Publisher: Melville House Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Series: Duca Lamberti Series , #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 421,809
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Giorgio Scerbanenco was born in Kiev in 1911 to a Ukrainian father and an Italian mother, grew up in Rome, and moved to Milan at the age of eighteen. In the 1930s, he worked as a journalist and attempted some early forays into fiction. In 1943, as German forces advanced on the city, Scerbanenco escaped over the Alps to Switzerland, carrying nothing but a hundred pages of a new novel he was working on. He returned to Milan in 1945 and resumed his prolific career, writing for women’s magazines, including a very popular advice-for-the-lovelorn column, and publishing dozens of novels and short stories. But he is best known for the four books he wrote at the end of his life that make up the Milano Quartet, A Private Venus, Traitors to All, The Boys of the Massacre, and The Milanese Kill on Saturdays. Scerbanenco drew on his experiences as an orderly for the Milan Red Cross in the 1930s to create his protagonist Duca Lamberti, a disbarred doctor; it was during this period that he came to know another, more desperate side of his adopted city. The quartet of novels was immediately hailed as noir classics, and on its publication in 1966, Traitors to All received the most prestigious European crime prize, the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. The annual prize for the best Italian crime novel, the Premio Scerbanenco, is named after him. He died in 1969 in Milan.

Howard Curtis translates books from French, Italian, and Spanish, and was awarded the John Florio Prize in 2004 as well as the Europa Campiello Literary Prize in 2010.

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