Some favours simply cannot be refused. Tonio agrees to write a love letter for Dario, a low-rent Paris gigolo. When Dario is murdered, a single bullet to the head, Tonio finds his friend has left him a small vineyard somewhere east of Naples. The wine is undrinkable but an elaborate scam has been set up. The smell of easy money attracts the unwanted attentions of the Mafia and the Vatican, and the unbridled hatred of the locals. Mafiosi aren’t choir boys, and monsignors can be very much like Mafiosi.
'Holy Smoke' is a darkly comic iconoclastic tale told by an author of great verve and humour. It is also an attempt to unearth Benacquista's Italian roots: the small claustrophobic villages of rural Italy, the fathers' war experiences fighting for Mussolini in Albania, and the generous sprinkling of gastronomic titbits. In this story, the author divulges the origin of 'putanesca' sauce, the recipe for the perfect espresso, but above all the metaphysics of pasta. And, as we all know, pasta is a universe in itself....
Tonino Benacquista, born in France of Italian immigrants, dropped out of film studies to finance his writing career. After being, in turn, a museum night-watchman, a train guard on the Paris-Rome line...
Adriana Hunter's work has included two novels by Agnès Desarthe, Beigbeder's vitriolic attack on the world of advertising, '£9.99', and Catherine Millet's explicit autobiography, 'The Sexual Life of Catherine M'.
Praise for Holy Smoke
''A terrific black comedy.'' New York Times
''An iconoclastic chronicle of small-time crooks and desperate capers, with added Gallic and Italian flair. Wonderful fun.'' The Guardian
Benacquista visits Florida State University
www.fsu.edu/ ~icffs/ event-writers.html
Benacquista-Gallimard crime site
www.gallimard.fr/ foliopolicier/ phares/ benacquista.htm