The tenacity of the Sicilians in Salvo Toscano’s yellows. The investigations of the “Corsair brothers” will become a Mediaset series with Beppe Fiorello

Photo of author

By John

“The two Corsaro brothers are Sicilians of tenacious concept” (to quote Sciascia), “investigators” from Palermo born from the pen of their fellow citizen Salvo Toscano, journalist of the TGR Sicilia in Palermo, blogger and writer who has already dedicated nine novels to his paper “brothers”, Roberto and Fabrizio, the first criminal lawyer, the other crime reporter. And the tenth, “The Assassin’s Blade” (Newton Compton Publisher), which will be presented in Messina today at 18.30 in a meeting organized by the Bonanzinga bookshop, and which confirms that black writing is on the black page of reality (to remind Sciascia again), it came out in the bookshop shortly before the announcement that the first four chapters of the saga will become a Mediaset series broadcast on Canale 5, with Beppe Fiorello as Fabrizio Corsaro. A Camfilm and Taodue production, directed by Francesco Miccichè and the screenplay by Salvatore Di Mola and Pier Paolo Piciarelli, two veterans of thriller fiction (they wrote Il commissario Montalbano and Imma Tataranni) who will move between the places in Palermo where already shooting will begin at the end of August.

Elena Vitale, a fifteen-year-old who disappeared on her way home after finishing her dance lesson, lived in a district of Palermo, which “was a city but practically in the countryside”. therefore Fabrizio, having heard the news, immediately sets off “with adrenaline in his body and the feeling that something big is starting”. He’s not mistaken because the girl’s disappearance is attributed to a “money mafioso”, Rinaldo Quartararo, suspected of having kidnapped Elena for the purpose of extortion. The investigators follow this lead, who assure, in favor of the cameras, that the “investigations are proceeding expeditiously”. This is not the case, and in this case the mafia has nothing to do with it, Fabrizio and his brother Roberto are convinced of this, who takes on the defense of Quartararo, already a client of him in the past. The two brothers do not believe in coincidences, Elena’s disappearance suggests that, in 1997, of Rosalba Marfia, also fifteen and a passionate reader (“The assassin’s blade” borrows the title from the “time blade”, a syntagm taken from a verse of a Shakespeare sonnet that Rosalba liked), of which nothing was heard again, and in the meantime, in the Madonite countryside there is not a mentally disabled young man, as told by Dario Matranga, a young lawyer who collaborates with Fabrizio.

And therefore, there is always something that compels us to investigate, because evil creeps darkly and crime is a profoundly human fact, in its causes as in its effects. To tell it, in the agora of the Sicilian “yellow” and “black” there is, today, a wealth of invention and style that really Sicily should be put narratively in the plural, between Sciascia’s and Camilleri’s nieces and nephews, together with moving between light and mourning, deceit and lies, between the contradictions and urgencies of everyday life, between the grotesque and the comic even when the shadows claim to impose themselves.

Lies are always interesting and when Roberto and Fabrizio, both determined to press the impostures of bad common sense, find them in front of them, the questions crowd into the minds of the two brothers who reason and tell each one on his own, to then cross the passion for the truth with facts: Roberto, careful to fathom the possibilities of a just justice, Fabrizio, although “cazzaro” according to his older brother, engaged in honest information that escapes the perverse logic of the monster at any cost in the first page. Because justice, as well as information without ethics, represent a society and a country that are also without morals. There is everything in Toscano’s narrative laboratory (already semi-finalist in the Scerbanenco prize, finalist in the Zocca prize and winner of the Telamone Prize).

The temporal planes are well alternated, the dialogues and the sociological-anthropological forays fluid, already outlined by the Corsaro brothers since “Last appeal”, the first chapter of the series, with two crimes of young women only apparently unrelated to each other. A winning scheme that reappears in the second investigation, “The enigma Barabbas”, in which the “crucifixion” of a theologian priest, the killing of an elderly woman and the disappearance of her Polish carer are mysteriously connected with the story of Barabbas, to whom the priest had dedicated his last work.

And then again, “Unusual suspects” in which Fabrizio is even suspected of the death of a butcher just released from prison where he had been unjustly detained and whom the reporter had to meet for an interview, and gradually to tell the complexity of reality and dig into the depths of the human, “Blood of my blood”, “A diabolical family”, “The wrong man”, “The serial killer’s lair”, “Memoirs of a crime” and “The intruder” (all published by Newton Compton).
Years go by and Fabrizio and Roberto, different in character but very close to each other and to their mother, find themselves together in the breath of the city for their research. Roberto, “married since elementary school” to Monica, Fabrizio “feminine” unrepentant even if he later marries Maria.

The editorial staff’s problems with early retirement and exodus, the subsequent crisis with his wife, the separation and a new maturity with the custody of the little Romanian Nicolae, for Fabrizio; and for Roberto, the liveliness of family life with children who know how to give them “stabs”, the awareness of advancing years, lifelong friends, not always easy relationships with colleagues. For both the observation of the “dedication to the ugliness of mankind”, and Palermo in the bowels and in the heart, with its suburbs and degraded neighborhoods, but also with its exuberance and the blues of its sky. Life goes on, chapter after chapter, for the two brothers, as for everyone, but the obscenity of evil that also lurks in the family, where one should be protected, gratuitous violence, hatred of the world, are a single plot in which only the painful “details” change.