Camilleri, Lucarelli and Wheatley: the goldfish rides out

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in or organising a conference


The crime fiction book Acqua in Bocca came out in June of this year. It is a joint work written by the two best-known and commercially successful contemporary writers in Italian crime fiction Andrea Camilleri and Carlo Lucarelli. A man is found dead in his kitchen with a plastic bag over his head and three dead goldfish beside him. The case is investigated by Lucarelli’s Grazia Negro, protagonist of three novels on serial-killers, and by Camilleri’s Salvo Montalbano, probably the most famous fictional policeman in Italy. ‘Un gioco, un esperimento, una collaborazione senza precedenti’ ‘A game, an experiment, a collaboration without precedent’ is the description on the cover of the book. In fact the ‘giallo a quattro mani’, (collaboratively written detective story) is not especially unusual or new in Italy. However this book is different in bringing together two already very established individual authors and their respective detectives. In simple practical terms what form should such a collaboration take? An unlikely solution was found by Camilleri, who proposed as a model a sort of whodunnit by Dennis Wheatley (perhaps better known for his occult fiction, such as the Devil Rides Out (1934)). Murder Off Miami (1936) was originally published in the form of a dossier containing facsimile documents and pieces of evidence, challenging the reader to solve the crime before checking the solution. This paper will consider what sort of book Camilleri and Lucarelli have produced in view of their decision to utilise a model nearly 75 years old.
Period16 Sept 2010
Event typeOther