***** Ten more cutting cases for Chase
Stefania Mattana’s literary experiment continues. After the first collection of six 1000-word stories centred on the figure of this former Scotland Yard detective now living in Italy, she comes back with ten more small cases, which dig deeper into the personality of the protagonist and into the atmosphere of Tursenia, giving us a complex image, able at times to entertain, move and make us shudder.
Alternating light, almost frivolous stories with far more challenging ones, to the point of becoming almost cruel, Mattana immerses us in the everyday life of Chase Williams, who despite moving away from the Metropolitan Police finds himself facing the most diverse mysteries, from thefts of swimsuits, to drug trafficking and brutal murders. His wit is enhanced by the skill of the author to pack these little, instant stories, which don’t give us time to reflect. The ending is always unpredictable and often comes suddenly in the last few paragraphs, leaving us open-mouthed and with the curiosity to find out what she has invented in the next story. Everything is flavoured with just the right balance of sensitivity towards the most touching issues and British humour, embodied by the always credible point of view of the protagonist, who, although accustomed to his Italian life and having understood the human mechanisms of his new homeland, continues to look at the reality that surrounds him with the eyes of the foreigner still capable of wonder.
Compared to the previous collection you will notice the greater maturity of the author, as evidenced by the extreme diversity of the stories. Being able to deal with such a big range of situations and at the same time keeping alive the attention of the reader is not for everyone. However, Mattana, at least with me, has succeeded.