The Captain Croce Casebook

Ricardo Piglia


The inimitable Captain Croce was a protagonist of one of Ricardo Piglia's major novels, Blanco nocturno (Target in the Night). Here, the author returns to the character in a series of hugely enjoyable crime stories that pay homage to a genre that Piglia loved as a reader, promoted as an editor and practiced as a writer. In this volume, the thoughtful, perspicacious Croce must solve the cases of a young Yugoslav sailor accused of having killed a prostitute in a Buenos Aires bar, the mystery surrounding a pornographic film supposedly starring Eva Peron, a jewel thief with connections to Peronism and a crime whose resolution hangs upon poems written by a surgeon in General Rosas' army... These playful, virtuoso texts tip the hat to Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Chesterton, Poe and Borges, who loved the crime genre as much as Piglia.

Regarding Croce, Piglia writes: ‘I like the man, because of his past and the imaginative way he approaches the problems that face him. He's always getting himself involved in mysteries and other people's business. Inspectors in mysteries are always a little naive and ghostly because, as Borges rightly said, in real life these crimes are solved - or covered up - through torture and informants while crime literature aspires unsuccessfully to a world where justice is something akin to truth.' In the endnote to this book, he writes: ‘I composed this book using Tobii, hardware that allows one to write with their eyes. It really does feel like a telepathic machine. Regular readers might detect a related change in my style.' Los casos del comisario Croce was written while the author suffered from the later stages of a paralyzing disease. Readers of this amazing, refined volume are sure to be blown away by the incredible vitality of texts that are, above all, a wonderful celebration of literature, the power of words and the art of storytelling.

The author left everything ready for this book's posthumous publication; it represents a major addition to the oeuvre of one of the greatest Spanish-language writers of recent times.


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