Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
From the world about me – we somewhat unexpectedly moved to Bologna in 2007 and, after a bit of to and fro, I settled in Italy permanently, something I had never planned to do. This meant learning a new language and about my adoptive country – again, something that had never been on my ‘to do’ list. After a few months at a language school, I came to realise I would never fully get a grip on the language, or the culture, unless I played a part in it. To this end, I got a job at the door of a homeless canteen. Here, I began to not only learn the language, but also much more about Italian culture – the good, the bad and the ugly! I was exposed to an Italy rarely seen by foreign visitors and, along with reading Norman Lewis’s true account of his time as a British police officer in Allied-occupied Naples at the end of the war – Naples ’44 – I began to wonder what it would be like to be a British detective in modern-day Bologna, and how interesting that could be for both reader, and writer!
What is your writing process?
I do most of my ‘creative’ writing in the morning, and edit in the afternoon. I tend to have the shape of a story in my mind and follow its broad contours, but also allow the characters to surprise me. They have to have a life of their own.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
Computer, although I am old enough to remember writing my first stories on a typewriter!
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
Dolores Pugliese, Daniel Leicester’s ‘punkabbestia’ sidekick, because she embodies the youthful and rebellious spirit of Bologna, which you could say is a character in her own right.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
Oddly enough, not my narrator, Daniel Leicester who, although obviously sharing some similarities, is definitely a ‘character’ in my mind. Probably Ispettore Alessandro, who always seems to be one step ahead. A quality I wish I had more of!
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
Daniel – enters the lion’s den – Leicester – because it is such an English name (both in location and pronunciation). Dolores – because it seems a very un-Italian name – Pugliese – speaks of her southern ‘outsider’ origins. The ‘Comandante’ – a term of respect typically accorded to high-ranking Italian officials. ‘Ispettore’ Umberto Alessandro – Ispettore because it is the Italian equivalent of ‘Inspector’, and to the Anglo-Saxon reader is shorthand for plain-clothed detective. In fact, although Alessandro is a Carabinieri ‘Inspector’, this is a role in the service that can be undertaken by a number of ranks. His official rank is ‘Colonnello’, as Daniel explains when he sees him for the first time in his braid-heavy uniform in the follow-up to A Quiet Death, The Hunting Season (out next year). But Alessandro is a man of quiet sophistication who prefers to travel below-the-radar, so Ispettore suits him just fine.
Reading your answers has me intrigued about your book and I’m looking forward to reading it in the future! Thank you so much for answering my questions and sharing so much about your inspiration, processes and book. I’ll definitely be looking out for The Hunting Season next year, too!
Read on to discover more about A Quiet Death In Italy and its author . . .
Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder
A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.
When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.
But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.
Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.
Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.
Author Bio –
Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.
Social Media Links –
Follow the tour:
Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing materials for this post and organising the tour it is part of.