THE SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCE OF THE WORKER BEES by Serge Quadruppani
Translated by Delia Casa.
Available now from Audible.com
From the Publisher:
“Its very real seductiveness lies in its ironic description of issues that are secondary to the investigation.” – Le Monde. On vacation with her husband in an idyllic Italian valley, Police Inspector Simona Tavianello stops at the local beekeeper’s shop to buy some honey, where she finds a body lying in the entrance. Simona tries to avoid involvement – she is, after all, off-duty. But when she realizes that the murder weapon is her own gun, what can she do but take charge?
The victim was an engineer at the controversial agricultural research center for Sacropiano, a biotechnology company accused of developing pesticides that are making the bees in the region disappear. At the same time Simona found the body, the local beekeepers were nearby organizing a militant sit-in to protest the company’s practices. And found on the floor near the corpse was a tract entitled, “The Bee Revolution.”
Simona Tavianello’s investigation gets her caught between the radical environmentalists and the powerful industrialists who are allied with the police. That would be complication enough, but she also needs to deal with the wounded ego of Cacabonda, the local police officer, who is officially in charge of the investigation. With her sharp humor and spot-on observations of current events in Italy, can Tavianello not only solve the murder, but also discover the intriguing reason behind the disappearance of the bees?
My recording experience:
This is a wacky, wacky book and I recommend it to any and all fans of quirky murder mysteries. Quadruppani’s heroine Simona is a huge hit in Italy (though he’s a Frenchman writing about an Italian woman) and I’m so glad I was asked to narrate this book – the first to be translated into English. After a bit of discussion with the publishers and polling my colleagues, we decided that it would make the most sense to skip giving the characters Italian accents. I likened it to speaking in a Russian accent when you’re in a play by Chekhov that has been translated into English. The characters aren’t speaking to each other in a foreign language, so they don’t hear an accent in each others’ speech. Unless that is a regional accent. And I did try to incorporate different rhythms and sounds to define regionalisms a bit here. In any case, Simona is an iconic character – a hard-boiled detective who is also a sensual experienced woman who loves to make love to her husband and eat good food (though she does have a few issues with both – you’ll see!) I hope you enjoy this unique detective tale as much as I did.
Listen to a sample here: