Maybe you've never read it, but if you are a fan of Camilleri and keep an eye in Italian literary scenery surely you have heard of the series of books written by Antonio Manzini about the deputy prefect Rocco Schiavone and published by Harper Collins.
The black and compelling investigation of the Roman police officer transferred to Aosta for punishment are definitely the most read stories by the Italians that also came to life in a TV show inspired by the novels.
At the moment only 2 of the 5 books of the series have been translated into English and you can read my review of the first installment Black Run, here.
I had the chance to interview Manzini in collaboration with an Italian website so here it is what he has to say. Enjoy!
Rocco is a real bastard, and there are very few acts of kindness for those around him. Instead, we found him ready and willing to risk everything for strangers. Why this selective goodness?
It is not selective goodness. Rocco has heart for those left behind, for who stand alone, for those who no longer have a Saint to pray for.
Nowadays the classic crime is disappearing, outclassed by high-tech laboratories and the scientific investigations that make it look extremely easy to solve crimes. Rocco Schiavone instead is old school, and to resolve cases often relies on intuition and paperwork. Don't you think you have left him too behind compared to investigative techniques?
The hi-tech laboratories are those in the American TV series. In reality, things are not like that. The only technology that works, seems to be that of phone traceability. The DNA instead is a very simplistic way of looking at reality. When you look into details of an investigation, you realize that all this precision is not there, after all. I still prefer narratively speaking humanity to the supposed science of today's investigations.
"Nothing left to do but cry" was Troisi's famous movie, but here you could say "Nothing left to do but laugh." Rocco is sad and depressed, to the limit of endurance and download all his discomfort on others with scornful irony and malice. Yet it makes us laugh. Why do you think the readers have so much fun with his vitriolic jokes and his rudeness?
Perhaps because it is unsettling. But I think the key thing is not to make the jokes just to be fun. I haven't build dialogue exclusively for laughs. If so you would notice only the artificiality of the act and the futility of writing. The jokes, as comic reaction in life should be natural and only arrive when is the right time.
Rocco is much loved but also much criticized, amid criticism, popular among the lovers of italian crime, is that Rocco is too over the top to be credible. Enough to find the appropriate solutions a little surreal and unbelievable. Why did you want to be so excessive in every sense?
The novel feeds on stories that can stand at the edge of plausibility but stay real. Otherwise, I could tell a great bank robbery and get by with about twenty pages. But that is called "report" and it is the duty of journalists to tell it. Do you think Burke's stories plausible? Lansdale? King? Nesbo? Or Brookmeyer? Conan Doyle? Would we like to talk about "murder in the rue morgue" byPoe? Or " And there were none" ? Crime fiction for me has always been and will remain an opportunity to say something more.
(I had to cut some parts of the interview because they refer to books and facts that would have spoiled you the series that its yet to be translated. I tried to do my best to keep the sense of the reply as similar as possible to the original answer)