For the launch of the book Mediterranean Crime Fiction: Transcultural Narratives in and around the “Great Sea”, 

Presented by CO.AS.IT. and Barbara Pezzotti.

Date: Tuesday 23 April 2024
Time: 6:30-8pm.
Location: CO.AS.IT. 199 Faraday Street, Carlton.
Free Event.
Booking required 


Food as a Political Weapon in Inspector Montalbano Crime Series. 

A talk by Dr Barbara Pezzotti. 


Food, and especially its consumption, is an important part of Andrea Camilleri’s crime novels featuring Inspector Montalbano. A few scholars have analysed the representation of food in Camilleri’s novels, highlighting its function as a symbol of Montalbano’s visceral connection with his motherland and a statement “about a postmodern, consumer-driven society”. Barbara’s talk enters this lively debate, arguing that the importance of food in the Inspector Montalbano series is a reaction to the rhetoric of the Northern League, the secessionist political party that rose to power in the 1990s with the infamous Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and that has recently regained power in Italy. Not only does the traditional food tasted and consumed by Montalbano characterise the protagonist, add precise regional flavours to the plot, and facilitate social and political commentary, but it becomes a veritable ‘militant’ weapon. This speech derives from Barbara’s research into Mediterranean crime fiction that culminated in the publication of Mediterranean Crime Fiction: Transcultural Narratives in and around the “Great Sea” (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

Barbara Pezzotti is a Cassamarca Senior Lecturer in European Languages at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests include crime fiction and popular culture, literary geographies and utopian literature. She has published on Italian, Spanish, New Zealand and Scandinavian crime fiction. She is also the author of Investigating Italy’s Past through Crime Fiction, Films and TV Series: Murder in the Age of Chaos (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016) Politics and Society in Italian Crime Fiction: An Historical Overview (McFarland, 2014); and The Importance of Place in Contemporary Italian Crime Fiction. A Bloody Journey (FDU Press, 2012). She is the co-editor (with Jean Anderson and Carolina Miranda) of The Foreign in International Crime Fiction: Transcultural Representations (London: Continuum, 2012); Serial Crime Fiction. Dying for More (London and New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015); and Blood on the Table: Essays on Food in International Crime Fiction (Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2018).

Image: SerStelitano via Wikimedia Commons