A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


The Big Story

By Morris West 

Piazza Sant'Antonino in Sorrento, where the action in Morris West's story takes place
Piazza Sant'Antonino in Sorrento, where the
action in Morris West's story takes place
This book by bestselling Australian novelist and playwright Morris West is not a conventional detective story but the setting is Sorrento in southern Italy and there is a ‘whodunnit’ element to the plot.

Written in 1957, the novel features as its main protagonist an American journalist, Richard Ashley, who has been working on an exposure of graft in Italy's rich and powerful ruling clique that he hopes will make headlines all over the world.

At the centre of the corruption is the rich and powerful Vittorio, Duke of Orgagna and an added complication is that Ashley once had an affair with his wife, Cosima, and deep down he is still in love with her.

The Duke has to prevent Ashley’s story from being published as it would ruin his political ambitions and he arranges for the journalist to be framed for murder.

The mystery for the reader is who actually committed the murder and who will emerge the winner at the end, the journalist or the Duke.

For those who love Sorrento the book - later retitled as The Crooked Road and made into a film starring Stewart Granger - is interesting as it depicts the glamour of the resort 60 years ago when it was popular with the rich and famous.

And all credit to Morris West, the story reaches a tense climax with an unexpected twist at the end.

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