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Carte Blanche (Commissario De Luca #1)

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  458 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
April 1945, Italy. The final days of the Fascist Republic. World War II is nearing it's frantic conclusion. The regime's days are numbered, it's disgraced leaders know it, and their quibbling over pieces of the post-war pie is getting more desperate by the minute. Commissario De Luca has been handed a murder investigation that will draw him into the private lives of the ri ...more
Paperback, 108 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Europa Editions (first published 1990)
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Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I read this in a day - it wasn't hard to do; it's quite short. It wasn't hard to do because it's written quite well, in a speedy, relaxed style. Something of the big city about it. An Italian city, of course. We're thrown right into it, no apologies, no explanations... not even a glossary to tell what's what in the convoluted Police State of Mussolini's last days. We're thrown right into it - a grenade goes off, there's shooting. It's chaos because it's a funeral that's been attacked by partisan ...more
Rob Kitchin
Aug 12, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it
Carte Blanche is a novella, less than 100 pages long. The narrative is driven along by what the characters say and do, with little thick description of looks or thoughts or back story. However, the characterization does not suffer from such a writing style and De Luca and his colleagues are brought to life in an economical fashion that lets the story rip along. The book might be short, but the story is complex, full and rounded, and my immediate response on finishing was, ‘I need the next book - ...more
Carte Blanche, at just over 100 pages, is really short. Instead of having the feel of a full blown detective novel, this one read more like an episode in a crime TV show. The premise of having a police officer who tries to enforce the law with drastically changing circumstances is an appealing one. DeLuca has changed the police force he belongs to (and looks like by the end of the novel he will have to again), but his goal is always to bring the criminals to justice. In some ways that is highly ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: montalbano, europa
I am a fan of the Inspector Montalbano novels by Italian author Andrea Camilleri, and so this book was recommended to me. I was not previously familiar with author Carlo Lucarelli who is, according to the author's notes in the book, " of Italy's best-loved crime writers. Perhaps he is, but I found the writing in Carte Blanche to be a bit unrefined. The author uses a pen the way a carpenter uses a hammer. There is little exposition in the story telling, not much description to paint the wor ...more
Aug 07, 2008 LJ rated it really liked it
CARTE BLANCHE (Pol. Proc-Comm. De Luca-Italy-1945) - VG Lucarelli, Carlo – 1st in De Luca trilogy
Europa editions, 2006, US Trade paperback – ISBN: 193337215X

First Sentence: The bomb exploded suddenly, with a ferocious blast, right as the funeral procession was crossing the street.

It is April 1945, the final days before the Allies move into Italy. Those in power are desperately trying to find a way to survive the coming days.

In the midst of this, Commissario De Luca has been given “carte blanc
Jun 21, 2013 Ian rated it really liked it
This is a short crime novel set in 1945, in the last days of Mussolini's puppet regime in the north of Italy. The protagonist is a detective who has had himself transferred from the political police to the more normal police. He finds himself investigating the murder of a man with considerable political connections, with prominent political figures trying to pin the crime on each other.

I am not a big reader of crime fiction and to some extent this reminded me why that is. Crime fiction is funda
Apr 26, 2011 Mikee rated it liked it
Shelves: italian-mystery
A very strange book. I gave it three stars because I can't tell if I loved it or hated it. A bit of the classically boring noir - men who melt at the sight of a pretty woman, everybody falling into bed with everyone else, etc. But the unique part is the protagonist, formerly part of the Fascist political police, now part of the regular police (still in Mussolini's Italy). He wants to be apolitical and "just do his job", but is this possible with all the intrigues and double-dealing associated wi ...more
Jan 23, 2010 Johnny rated it liked it
When it comes to most books and movies, I tend to think that everything is too long. Whether a matter of reading taste or a belief that writing is about clear communication that redundancy only muddles, I don't know.

So it surprises even me to find a book that is too short. I wouldn't even call this a novella, it's much closer to a long short story. While I enjoyed the simple police procedural, it is set in such a rich historical time and place that the surface was only scratched of its potential
The first book in the De Luca trilogy set in 1945 during the final days of the Fascist Republic. I picked this up because I am fascinated by crime stories that take place during wartime and while this is a very short book (only a little over 100 pages) I did think it was well worth reading and will continue on with the trilogy.
Jun 21, 2009 Hayes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Rome at the beginning of the end of the Fascist Regime. It was pretty good at the beginning; it felt like a cross between Maigret and Montalbano. It fell apart at the end, resorting to visual cliches from Noir Films and a cop out ending. I will read the next in the series anyway.
Hanneke Vlak
Oct 18, 2016 Hanneke Vlak rated it liked it
Short. Translation not always good. Interesting view of law enforcement Italy at the end of the war.
Kristine Brancolini
Sep 11, 2013 Kristine Brancolini rated it really liked it
I'm reading through a list of contemporary Italian mystery writers and my daughter recommended Carte Blanche, which she read in Italian -- Carta Bianca. I ordered all three books in Carlo Lucarelli's Commissario De Luca series and couldn't wait to dive in. The most intriguing thing about this book -- and the entire series -- is its setting: Italy at the end of World War II and soon after its end. My favorite mysteries are historical, my favorite country Italy, so this series is perfect for me.

Oct 10, 2013 George rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Πρόκειται για το πρώτο μέρος της τριλογίας του Φασισμού, με πρωταγωνιστή τον επιθεωρητή της αστυνομίας Ντε Λούκα. Δεν θα το έλεγα μυθιστόρημα, πιο πολύ σε νουβέλα μου έκανε, γιατί ήταν πολύ σύντομο. Μου θύμισε, ας πούμε, περισσότερο ένα αυτοτελές επεισόδιο μιας αστυνομικής σειράς στην τηλεόραση παρά ταινία.

Ο Ντε Λούκα καλείται να ερευνήσει την δολοφονία ενός νεαρού και όμορφου άντρα, του Βιτόριο Ρέιναρντ, μέλος του Φασιστικού Κόμματος. Ο νεαρός αυτός ήταν αναμεμειγμένος σε διάφορες βρόμικες υπο
Apr 01, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it
Lucarelli, Carlo. CARTE BLANCHE. (1990; U.S.-2006). ****. This is a new writer for me, so I’ll recap the info given on the book flap. “Lucarelli is one of Italy’s best-loved crime writers. He was born in Parma in 1960. His publishing debut came with the extremely successful ‘De Luca Trilogy’ in 1960, and has since published a dozen novels and collections of short stories.” This novel is the first in the De Luca trilogy,and introduces us to Commissario de Luca. He has recently transferred into It ...more
This is only a very short novel, but one that I had been looking forward to reading for a long while. The more Italian literature I read the more I realise just how complex and painful the 20th century is for many Italians. Varesi touches upon this complex history in his River of Shadows books, but it was interesting to see Lucarelli's take on this in a work set during the collapse of the Fascist regime. De Luca is a highly complex character, as are all the best detectives; for him it is the mor ...more
Jul 21, 2012 charta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un noir classico: trama avvincente e complessa, colpo di scena finale, in cui il semplice sminuisce l'astruso.
Una perfetta e scabrosa architettura psicologica: poliziotto impeccabile per fiuto ed intuizione, che si identifica nel ruolo di segugio.
Le forze dell'ordine devono solo cercare il colpevole: moventi ultimi, morale, giustizia interiore non hanno importanza.
Ma il protagonista soffre d'insonnia e inappetenza nervosa.
Si sfianca nell'azione perchè la staticità lo porterebbe a pensare.
(in un
Nov 26, 2009 MV rated it liked it
After what seemed like years of recommending Lucarelli to me, I caved in & bought the De Luca trilogy. I was surprised that the books were so small, & therefore extremely easy reads. This is usually a good thing, but in this case, it wasn't so good. You have a policeman from Bologna in the midst of WWII. You crave details. You want to know how he got to where he is, & why he is the way he is. Why doesn't he eat or sleep? We don't get any of that in the first installment. W ...more
Aprile 1945. In una repubblica di Salò ormai allo sbando, viene commesso un omicidio: un giovane, molto vicino agli ambienti fascisti “bene”, viene trovato morto, con due coltellate. Gli unici indizi, un bicchiere sporco di rossetto rosso e un tagliacarte, l’arma del delitto, che non si trova. Il commissario De Luca, punta di diamante della polizia politica ma ora semplice poliziotto, è chiamato ad indagare. Peccato che trovare l’assassino si riveli più complicato del previsto.

Sinceramente mi as
Sep 27, 2008 Three rated it liked it
A slim but substantial novel from one of Italy's most popular crime writers (the other being Andrea Camilleri). Lucarelli, who writes extensively for television, moves the plot along with all the usual cliches of the genre - a tired washed-up detective, a fiery woman who is either a victim or the culprit etc - but manages to save the day by convincing characterisation, and innovation.

The innovation is in the setting. Just as Leonardo Sciasia managed to convey the essence of the mafia through a
Sep 09, 2016 Eddie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An interesting read. Introducing Commasario DeLuca, a cop in fascist Italy at the end of WW2, Will read the 2nd and 3rd books of the trilogy.
Aug 27, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it
A policeman just trying to be a policeman in the desperate and ugly period of late WWII, as the Italian fascists were being pushed back and the opportunists of every stripe were scrambling to situate themselves to best advantage for the war's end...a fascinating period and clearly a good time to explore the dark night of the soul. The author gave up his academic thesis on this subject to be a writer instead, so you know I loved him from the get go. I might prefer my characters to be the ones who ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Loraine rated it really liked it
A taut, existential novella set in 1945 Italy just weeks before the allies liberate all of Italy. Waiting for Godot meets The Maltese Falcon.

Commissario De Luca is the lead detective in the investigation of a murder that has major political implications, and the Commissario is caught in a web of forces that render him incapable of free will. He is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, whatever his option is at any given moment. The competing forces, whether partisan or gestapo or fascist, ma
Dec 28, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
There is something compelling about this short format and blunt prose. Lucarelli is clearly well versed in the period and paints its particular chaos in a few words. Chosing to set in this time period gives him a great deal of narrative backdrop. And yet he writes so sparingly (and with no footnotes) that it reminded me a little of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy but it is too eager to resolve for that. The ending comes abruptly and we are immediately off to the next event. This format both chall ...more
May 14, 2011 Johnrh rated it really liked it
Europa Editions again. Translated from the Italian. Truly a novella. Just a shade over 100 pages. Thus my clipped sentences. Set in Fascist Italy at the very end of World War II as the Allies move up from the south. A murder mystery with Italian flair. Very little World War directly involved. Giancarlo Giannini with his brooding demeanor would be perfect for the cinema role of Commisario DeLuca. I practically inhaled this book. Great for the beach or cardio machine. Thanks again to the Highlands ...more
Basia Barbara
Jun 06, 2011 Basia Barbara rated it it was amazing
A fascinating study of a police man who worked for 40 years in the Italian Police under many regimes. How does someone function under Fascists, The Partisan Police, the Italian Republic?
What moral compass does one follow? De Luca, the fictional police man, sees his job as preserving order and stability with out brutatlity. Wow. The real policeman on which the character rests, worked from 1940 until 1980.
Nov 13, 2008 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
It was interesting to read a mystery by an Italian writer after reading Michael Dibdin series featuring Aurelio Zen. There are affinities but this novel is grimly serious: The protagonist, recently returned to straight police work after a stint in the political police, tries to solve a murder honestly while also trying to avoid death at the hands of, variously, the Gestapo, the partisans and the rump Fascist government.
David McGrogan
Feb 01, 2016 David McGrogan rated it really liked it
A short, sharp shock of a book: a murder mystery set in the dying days of Fascist Italy at the close of WWII. Whips along from A to Z in barely 100 pages - a sort of Mediterranean twist on Dashiell Hammett with a pinch of surrealism sprinkled on top. Highly recommended, even if the main pleasure comes from the fascination of having a window into Fascist society than the by-the-numbers nature of the mystery.
Giuseppe Saracino
libro ambientato nella seconda metà della II guerra mondiale, il protagonista è il Commissario De Luca che con i suoi uomini dovrà indagare su un omicidio, ovviamente le modalità dell'indagine sono particolari e dovute al periodo fasciste con tutti gli annessi e connessi.
mi è piaciuto anche notare che nel libro non c'è solo il commissario de luca ma anche il maresciallo pugliese con il quale si scambiano diverse battute.
K.B. Hallman
3.5 stars. A nice tight story. Because it's a novella, there isn't much time for character development, so some of the characters ran together for me. I had some trouble following the political implications,and Lucarelli doesn't feel the need to educate the reader beyond a very brief preface. And even though I do not have a firm understanding of the politics of Italy during WWII, I appreciate the fact that he didn't pad the story with a history lesson.
Apr 11, 2015 Michael rated it liked it
Taking place in Northern Italy in the closing days of WWII and the fascist regime, the tone and mood of “Carte Blanche” are pure noir. An original and fast paced police procedural where Commissario De Luca lurches around in an insomniac haze watching his back for a partisan bullet. The only issue I had is that at just a little over 100 pages, there was little time for character development.
N.B. Do not skip the preface as it gives important background information.
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  • River of Shadows
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Lucarelli was born at Parma, the son of a physician. He was interested in literature and theatre when he was young, and studied Literature and History. Nowadays he lives in Mordano near Bologna.

Already in his years of study, during his research for his thesis subject he got in touch with the material for his first two books, which take place during the time of fascism and the years immediately aft
More about Carlo Lucarelli...

Other Books in the Series

Commissario De Luca (4 books)
  • The Damned Season
  • Via delle Oche
  • Intrigo italiano: Il ritorno del commissario De Luca

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