cover image A Private Venus

A Private Venus

Giorgio Scerbanenco, trans. from the Italian by Howard Curtis. Hersilia (Dufour, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-9563796-4-1

A lost Italian noir classic from 1966 finally makes its way into English translation. Born of a Russian father and Italian mother, Scerbanenco%E2%80%94once called the "human typewriter"%E2%80%94was said to be more prolific than Simenon, although much of his output was in the romance genre. During the three years before his 1969 death, however, he wrote a series of terse, unsentimental crime thrillers featuring Dr. Duca Lamberti, starting with this one. Just released from prison after euthanizing a dying patient, Duca reluctantly agrees to treat a young alcoholic, only to find that the youth's backstory involves a murdered Milan streetwalker, a white slavery ring, pornography, and torture. "He wouldn't have devoted a single minute to this whole business if he hadn't sensed the ruthless, violent hand of the Mafia behind it." This edition also includes a brief autobiographical memoir from a noir writer richly deserving rediscovery. (Oct.)