Varesi Casts Long Shadow
September was a big month for international crime fiction, as Commissario Soneri became the lastest suave and taciturn continental detective to be introduced to these shores by MacLehose Press.
Valerio Varesi’s series has already gone down a storm in Italy, where it has been filmed for television, and River of Shadows has been gathering rave reviews in UK broadsheets.
Barry Forshaw in the Independent wondered whether the atmospheric wind-and-rain-swept first chapter could have been ‘the half-remembered opening chapter of a novel by Dickens’. ‘The real coups of River of Shadows‘, he concluded, ‘are twofold: the author’s trenchant analysis of his country’s ignoble past, married to the narrative acumen of a master storyteller’.
Laura Wilson in the Guardian also made the Dickens comparison, and appreciated Varesi’s ‘good line in wry humour’. Rosemary Goring in the Herald found ‘the slow-burn of the storytelling… refreshing’ and observed that while Italy may not be the carefree country it sometimes seems to outsiders, ‘the sinister secrets it nurses are fodder for good fiction’.
And if the Commissario Soneri Investigations take off, given the success of the Swedish Wallander series on BBC Four, it may not be long before the likes of Luca Barbareschi and Natasha Stefanenko, the stars of the Italian Soneri series, are gracing our screens on a Sunday night.