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Carte Blanche (Commissario De Luca #1)

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  305 ratings  ·  50 reviews

"Carlo Lucarelli is the great promise of Italian crime writing."-La Stampa

April 1945, Italy. Commissario De Luca is heading up a dangerous investigation into the private lives of the rich and powerful during the frantic final days of the facist regime. The hierarchy has guaranteed De Luca their full cooperation, just so long as he arrests the "right" suspect. The house of

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Paperback, 108 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Europa Editions (first published 1990)
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Rob Kitchin
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
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
Ian
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
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Robert
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, "...one 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
Margaret
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
LJ
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
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Mikee
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
Johnny
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
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Monica
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
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Sandi
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.
Hayes
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.
MV
After what seemed like years of Amazon.com 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
charta
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
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Three
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
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Tony
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
Kristine Brancolini
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.

Ca
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mgoglio Goglio
First of three Commissario DeLuca mysteries set during the and post WWII Italy. DeLuca is a policeman first and foremost with no strong ties to any political cause. At first I found the translations a bit stilted, but the character definitely grew on me. Also loved the noir feeling, the sense of shifting allegiances and what one does to survive as things are sorted out at the end of a war.
Andrea
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
John Morris
Maybe it was my limited knowledge of Italy during the period that this was set. Maybe it was because it was so short that I couldn't get into it. Having said those things I just didn't get into the story and while I read it at one sitting it left me a bit baffled at times and didn't grip me. Shame.
Loraine
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
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Deb
Fascinating juxtaposition a of police procedural and the unraveling of a lawless regime. The precisely created characters, the setting and the bare to the bone writing make this crime novel a special treat.
Johnrh
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
Cooper Renner
I often select mysteries, when I'm ready to read a mystery, for their settings--this one, the very end of World War 2 in Italy seemed promising. And it's a keeper. A short, swift, "hard-boiled" police novel.
Procyon Lotor
Ancora il mio preferito Il miglior Lucarelli. Giudizio rafforzato dall'ambientazione e dal periodo: Italia del Nord, fasi finali della seconda guerra mondiale. Difficilissimo, indagare quando non sei la sola polizia su un omicidio mentre di morti se ne producono industrialmente.
Armen
Jun 08, 2014 Armen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
It's more 3.5 stars. enjoyed the first one and looking for the second one.
Tom
Feb 10, 2014 Tom marked it as to-read
Commissario De Luca
Zuberino
Intrigued by this when I went to the local Barnardo's last weekend. Decent little 'roman policier' set in Bologna 1945, during the last stormy days of Mussolini's Fascist Republic. Strong on atmosphere in places, which made me wish that the book had been somewhat longer than just a hundred pages, but I guess Lucarelli went for the short, sharp impact. Overall effect still somewhat patchy, and loads of sub-Chandler/sub-Hammett crime thriller cliches, especially along the femme fatale angle.
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.
Nick
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.
Basia Barbara
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.
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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
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