Sunday, October 17, 2010

Involuntary Witness

Having just read an American-based legal novel (Innocent), I've continued my habit of reading books based around the world, with Involuntary Witness by Italian author Gianrico Carofiglio.  And what a contrast in legal systems between America and Italy.  If American TV and books are even vaguely realistic, the case described in this Italian novel would never go to court.  There is extremely flimsy circumstantial evidence, but in Italy, it seems so compelling that the accused is being advised to plead guilty for a lesser sentence. The system seems mind-boggling in its unfairness.  

The author Carofiglio should know the Italian system well.  He is is an anti-Mafia judge in Bari, a port on the Adriatic coast of Italy. He has been involved with trials concerning corruption, organized crime and the traffic in human beings.  He sounds like a brave individual.  News reports suggest that taking on the Mafia in Italy can be a distinctly unhealthy and often terminal hobby.

One of my favourite series is the Donna Leon series with police detective Guido Brunetti solving crimes but fighting the system in Venice.  This is another, discouraging, look at the Italian justice system through another set of eyes.

Again, I recommend this book and intend to read more of Carofiglio's books myself.

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