Giancarlo De Cataldo presents his new novel, Colpo di ritorno. An article by Cristina Diaferia

At the presentation of his latest novel, Colpo di ritorno, Giancarlo De Cataldo, interviewed by Valerio Calzolaio, discussed the relationship between the Italian justice system and the noir genre. De Cataldo’s long career as a magistrate is the point of departure for all his writings, which have the aim, as he himself has admitted, of providing “a lighter, more approachable look at the workings of justice.” The novel, therefore, is deemed by the author a somewhat watered-down version of that “Italian red tape” that beleaguers Italy. In politics and much more.

Opera is another important thread for De Cataldo as well as Manrico Spinori, the protagonist of his novel, the challenge being to seek out references to the art form in one’s own storytelling. After all, the great tradition of melodrama is strictly connected to the history of Milan, and, as the author says himself, produces “dazzling dramaturgical achievements” in Verdi. One example from the whole of Verdi’s prolific output will suffice: Rigoletto, the plot of which is characterized by all the nuances of the crime genre. And as far as the telling of a crime is concerned, De Cataldo emphatically believes that no art form has ever depicted such events better than opera itself.

As to the value of the noir genre, De Cataldo feels that it has the potential to be receptive to new scenarios and new narrative forms. Colpo di ritorno, the fourth title in the popular series (Io sono il castigo, 2020; Un cuore sleale, 2020; Il suo freddo pianto, 2021), comes out of the investigative leanings of the creator of Romanzo criminale, true; yet it also speaks to the need to look deep inside oneself. “Yes, there is this somewhat ‘zen’ aspect to writing,” declares De Cataldo, who does admit to having a desire, to some extent, to rediscover himself through his novels.