ALESSANDRO CARLINI, THE NAME OF EVIL (Newton Compton, pp. 352 € 12.00)

Aldo Marano is the protagonist of a new investigation in Ferrara devastated by the Second World War and this time the magistrate inspired by the figure of judge Antonio Buono must face a crime that challenges the limits of rationality. ‘The name of evil’ is the latest noir novel by the writer and journalist Alessandro Carlini, who once again chooses his hometown to tell real events through fictional fiction.
As in the first book, the bestseller ‘Gli sciacalli’ (proposed at the Premio Strega 2021), also in this case the author used the vast unpublished memorial made available by the family of Judge Buono, as well as texts and articles that have also appeared recently in the local press. A second novel part of what should become a Ferrara trilogy on the Fascism-Postwar period.
In the ‘Nome del male’, the rich countess Maria Gherardini Franchi was raped and murdered in 1944 in the remote countryside of the province of Ferrara. The authorities of the Republic of Salò, instead of investigating thoroughly, cover up the story, which is forgotten in the last, bloody months of the war. After the end of the conflict, the case returns to the desk of the deputy prosecutor Marano. But the investigation immediately appears fraught with pitfalls, including silence, reticence and, above all, fear: everyone, from the carabinieri to the countess’s servants, seems to connect the murder to dark and demonic apparitions.
The book is freely inspired by a well-known unsolved crime, that of the Marquise Maria Giordani Catalano Gonzaga, brutally murdered in May 1944 inside her villa in Santa Maria Codifiume, on the border between the provinces of Ferrara and Bologna. “This is a story still shrouded in mystery today – explains Carlini – even recently in the local press there has been talk of possible witnesses ready to reveal the name of the culprit only on the verge of death, that’s why I wanted to reconstruct a setting with features almost esoteric, with biblical and literary quotations and references, from Dante to Bulgakov up to Stephen King: to represent an almost ancestral fear settled in the local imagination, despite all the past “.
The novel opens in the vast Ferrara plain that stretches towards the sea, in the Argenta area, a borderland stolen from the marshes with the Reclamation, far from the big cities, from Ferrara and Bologna, and a terrible crime is committed among those countryside, which affects the richest family in the area. But then he moves to a cold and foggy Ferrara, where Marano moves, among symbols, legends, churches and crucifixes, an Este city that has never been so ghostly.