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Guido Pagliarino THE POETRY OF TOXIC LOVE Novel,   with the appendix: THE LATE D'AIAZZO  a Tale

Translation from Italian to English by Barbara Maher

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In previous works based on the characters Vittorio D`Aiazzo and Ranieri Velli, ”L`ira dei vilipesi” (“The Wrath of the Reviled”), ”Il mostro a tre braccia”, ”I satanassi di Torino”, the pair were both police officers (or officers of Public Security, as it was called in the past), commissioner the first, his adjutant the latter. In this subsequent work, while Vittorio had remained in the service and had risen to the rank of deputy police commissioner, Ranieri had courageously left the uniform with its fixed salary to devote himself exclusively to his passion, writing. He barely scrapes along relying on his pen, as part-time journalist at a newspaper and underpaid editor in a publishing house; and this time, in both the novel ”The poetry of toxic love” and the short story that follows it, he is the main character, not Vittorio, even if his friend certainly does not rest in the background.

Returning home on a July day in 1969, Ranieri finds a letter from New York in the mail informing him that he has won a rich literary prize for his poetic work, translated in the United States. Shortly after, there are attacks on his life cloaked as accidents, which are unsuccessful thanks to his athleticism and martial arts ability. Were these attempts at revenge by one of the many criminals that Ranieri had brought to justice before leaving the police force? Or, as he comes to suspect, does the motive lie precisely in that literary prize? Or even more surprisingly, can a sylloge of his poems which were recently printed completely without his knowledge be the motive? Valli flies to New York for the award ceremony and is greeted at Kennedy Airport by a young Italian American, Norma Costante, a sexy beauty who has been engaged by the Valente Foundation, organizer of the award, to assist him as an interpreter and escort. She, close to divorce from her husband, a bisexual painter who betrayed her by participating in orgies with his male and female models, seems to fall passionately in love with him while Ranieri, certainly, warms to her; but a bitter fact will emerge from the sensual lady’s past. Meanwhile, in America too, on several occasions someone tries to kill the poet, always masking their criminal attempts as fortuitous accidents; and although Ranieri still manages to escape death, other people however are affected, first John Crispy, a prominent American broker who administers the assets of Donald Montgomery, a young man with a cold character, director of the FBI in New York and candidate for the United States Senate: he perhaps hates his administrator because he is close to marrying his mother, the richest woman in America. At a certain point one fact seems certain, that despite himself the poet has become a pawn in an international criminal chess game that concerns Italy in particular, a country which in that year of 1969, was prey to social violence and civil unrest. There are numerous twists and turns; among other things people believed to be dead reappear on the scene alive, while figures considered honest turn out to be slippery and nihilistic. The solution of the case will come only towards the end when the poet, saved at the last moment by his fraternal friend deputy police commissioner D`Aiazzo, will be kidnapped and brutally tortured by the unpredictable architect of the colossal criminal plan. In the appendix ”The late D`Aiazzo”, you can read the story of the events that take place shortly after those of the novel: The media announce that the deputy police commissioner Vittorio D`Aiazzo has been assassinated. Based on strong evidence, the victim appears to be, against all expectations, an individual with a dual personality, a very honest official of the Turin Police Headquarters and a slimy delinquent in Naples, Vittorio’s hometown. His friend Ranieri cannot be consoled and begins to investigate