In the “Labyrinths of Memory” the Murky Torricellan Thriller
A vivacious thriller totally set in Torricella with names and portraits of village life
by Walter Teti.
The latest book by Gianni Materazzo, published in the summer of 1993, was number 2325 in the Mondadori Thrillers chain of publications, entitled “I labirinti della memoria” (Labyrinths of Memory).
Gianni Materazzo, or the scholar of Torricella since 1990, had predicted this book ever since his first thriller, “Delitti imperfetti” (Imperfect Crimes) was published, and he has succeeded in keeping his promise. A thriller set totally in Torricella, with characters, places, names and surnames from the village and with wide reference to the land of Abruzzo, its towns and its institutions.
In the book which has had great success as deserved and which proves Materazzo to be a brilliant author, capable of translating into thriller-type prose even the smallest of portraits of village life (of Torricella), he has shelled out truths without any difficulty about the setting at Torricella which, once again and with a sense of mystery without too many clues, is given the name of Fallascoso: who knows if the existence in reality of this district is sufficient to explain this bias. Certainly it is true that Materazzo doesn’t make it entirely clear, not even between the lines of his spirited prose, but perhaps, like in any respectable thriller, he gives us clues that we must know how to read and interpret. Yes, this is probably correct. It’s true enough that in his story, whore though she might be, there is a psychoanalyst that he, the lawyer Marotta, is trying to beat in the field of understanding the emotions of the crime, apparently so entangled.
Two stories to read: the intrigues of the plot and the personality of the lawyer, Marotta
And he succeeds very well: his character, the lawyer (Marotta), a projection of the author with a degree in jurisprudence but who does not work in the legal profession, investigates more like a psychoanalyst than like a “detective”, with the objective, however, of wanting to clarify the truth and the “reality”. And yes, there are two stories in this book; parallel and finely interwoven, in much the same way as is the mind of the author, who in his simplicity, apparent and cortical, in reality “holds” the threads of a plot to be uncovered within his personality. And that one can understand all this from the book makes its pages all the more beautiful. But are all thrillers like this? Certainly Materazzo’s is really special: it tells of Torricella, of our village and about stories of which we have heard tell so many times.
The plot? Two crimes in all. The victims are a certain Marzialino, the classic “strange yet funny” person found in any village, the typical drunkard, who as a youth was a Partisan and also collaborated with the Germans, and a certain elderly German archaeologist, a scholar from Juvanum, ex-Nazi, who has returned to Torricella, or rather Fallascoso, after half a century.
With his good motives naturally: the plot is really centred on this murky character and on the two “whores” of Fallascoso, Beatrice and Lena, the latter a self-styled psychoanalyst, whom the lawyer Marotta must investigate relentlessly and succeeding, even if, due to the circumstances, he uses a veiled approach.
The crime is there, there’s also the culprit and the lawyer Marotta manages to unmask the assassin. His character remains intact, unassailable, just like a detective who is sure of his facts.
Portrait of Gianni Materazzo taken at his house in Torricella, where he spends his summer holidays and where probably he taps into the inspirations for his books
Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca