Friday, April 9, 2021

Legal Thriller - Interview with Marcella Nardi, Author - by Maria Teresa De Donato


Legal Thriller

Interview with Marcella Nardi, Author

by Maria Teresa De Donato



Today, it’s with great pleasure that I am going to introduce to you my friend and fellow writer, Marcella Nardi, who like myself has been living in the USA for many years. Marcella also has numerous publications to her credit, all linked, in one way or another, to the world of mystery, investigations, detective stories, and the like.

Today we shall be focusing on one of the genres she is most fond of: the Legal Thriller.


MTDD: Hi Marcella and welcome to my Blog and Virtual Cultural Salon. It is a pleasure having you as my guest.

MN: Thank you Maria Teresa, I am happy to be "virtually" with you right now. 


MTDD: Marcella, why don't you start by introducing yourself? Tell us a little about yourself, who you are, your studies, career, hobbies, and anything else you wish to share with our reading audience.

MN: I was born in Veneto in a pretty medieval town: Castelfranco Veneto. I lived in many Italian cities, first because of my father's job, and then because of mine. Dad was from Vicenza and mom is from Puglia. I think I got the best of both, or at least that's what I like to believe. In 1986 I graduated in Computer Science, working in this field for 22 years, before moving here to the USA. I have many passions and hobbies. I love ancient and medieval history, photography, travel, gardening, DIY (=Do It Yourself), as well as reading and writing. I have also other interests. But those I mentioned are already enough.


MTDD: Where and when did your love for writing originate from and how did you end up publishing your books?

MN: I have always loved reading and writing. In those days, children used to read and watch almost the same things on TV as their parents. My mother was a crime fan and she used to write poetry, as she still does. I learned to read and write before starting school. I immediately abandoned the fairy tales to read detective stories. I believe that the love for thrillers comes from the fact that they stimulate our minds to discover pitfalls and intrigues.

MTDD: Since you started your writing career, you won several awards. Why don’t you tell us about them and explain with what criteria you chose which literary competitions to participate in?

MN: I am not very inclined to participate in literary awards. There are very few of them that are truly serious, while many, unfortunately, just ask for money and that's it. The two main ones, which I trusted, were competitions held, as every year, by two high-end organizations. One is the medieval culture association "Medieval Italy", which each year receives awards from the Presidency of the Italian Republic, and the other is the Italian Association of Book, Science, and Research" (Italia mia: a young award among the young people ( The criteria was based on the topic and the seriousness of the two groups. I happened to participate in other competitions, but often it was just a waste of time. In the first of these two important competitions, the theme was a short novel set in the fascinating setting of the Italian Middle Ages. I came in third place. It was 2011. On the other hand, it was 2014 when I won the only and first Italian prize with the theme "My Italy". A short novel was required in which a beautiful and historic Italian city would be highlighted. I turned Dante's story of Paolo and Francesca into a mystery novel set in Gradara. The three juries (80 Italian libraries, about forty jurors around Italy, and the committee of the Italian Book Association), voted for my story with about 87% of the votes. Over time I won other awards here and there, but they were not as prestigious as those ones.


MTDD: Let's mention for a moment the genres you got involved in and then let's focus on the Legal Thriller explaining what exactly it is and how it differs from other genres.

MN: I have ventured into the following genres: Historical Mystery; Romance; Paranormal; Police and Legal Thriller.

The Legal thriller fascinates me a little more than the detective novel because the main character in the latter, usually a criminal lawyer, has much more freedom in the investigation since he is not required to follow a particular protocol but only his instinct, while still being careful not to go against the law. We remember, for instance, the great Perry Mason. In my case, I created a Seattle attorney, Joe Spark, who is a character with a great love for the triumph of Justice, the real one. He is quite particular a lawyer, one of those who in order to make sure that the truth always triumphs ends up earning less money .

To better clarify to our readers, here is the difference between a detective novel and a legal thriller:

• In the detective novel, the investigator is always a representative of the authority. In Italy, it could be the Police or the Carabinieri. The detective must respect a certain procedure during the investigation and must, or should, always move in full compliance with the law/inquisitorial rules.

• In the legal thriller, the investigator is a lawyer with a passion for investigations and for the triumph of "true justice", not just that of the lawyer with the best public speaking abilities, as the great Cicero said. So in a novel of this kind, the protagonist has more "freedom of action” when it comes to his investigations.


MTDD: I know that you are also very fond of history, especially the medieval one. How do you use and include this passion of yours in your books in general and specifically in the Legal Thrillers we will be talking about today?

MN: I only use my passion for the Middle Ages for historical novels. I wrote one and an anthology of medieval tales.


MTDD: Speaking of which ... and before getting to the heart of your publications: What justice truly means to Marcella Nardi?

MN: To me, "justice" is something that goes beyond the laws that can vary from state to state. Justice should always be the triumph of law and ethical aspects. We are all the same, regardless of gender, skin color, and socio-economic background. I realize that the answer, however, is very difficult and complex, because we do not all have the same mentality.


MTDD: In 2019 you released your first Legal Thriller Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle  (Death in the Shadow of the Space Needle) in the breathtaking series "The Investigations of Attorney Joe Spark".

How did the idea for this book come about? Who is Joe Spark? and What should/could the public expect from reading this book of yours?

MN: Joe Spark is an attractive Seattle attorney in his early fifties. For me, it was a challenge: creating a male protagonist was not easy. I also wondered: "Marcella, if you were just a reader, what kind of man would you like to see in action as a detective?". It was not, however, just a challenge in these terms; it was, above all, the desire to experiment with the construction of a new character, a new personality, and a new approach to investigations. Joe Spark is a hypochondriac, he doesn't like technology, he loves good food and beautiful women, but he has a difficult relationship with them. However, he is a man with a sharp mind, endowed with great deductive and observation skills. He loves justice, the true one. In the name of true justice, Joe Spark will never be a wealthy lawyer, but he will always be drawn to discovering what lies behind a crime.

In "Death in the Shadow of the Space Needle", the reader will participate in the search for the killer, but as soon as he believes he has figured out who he is ... that’s when he will have to start from scratch. I like, when I write, to give credible yet false leads and then have more than one twist in the end. This novel is a real "cold case" in which Joe Spark will open a real Pandora's box.


MTDD: In 2020 Joe Spark gets back in the game in L’architetto dei labirinti  (The Architect of the Labyrinths), your second Legal Thriller. Tell us about this book and explain if and how in the meantime there has been an evolution of the character 'Joe Spark' compared to how he was and how he operated in Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle (Death in the Shadow of the Space Needle).

MN: In this novel, I present a Joe Spark who "dares" to declare his love to a woman he has fallen in love with. We see him safer, while his acumen in solving a strange case that opens with the discovery of a triple murder in a deconsecrated church remains unaltered. His "modus operandi" does not change, while the type of plot does. We see a Joe Spark who is more confident in making certain decisions that are not easy. Unfortunately, I can't spoil so I can't reveal some important aspects, but I also believe that, after six detective novels, as a writer I have evolved into the Legal thriller genre.


MTDD: In your search for plots, characters, and historical contexts, in your opinion, does your Italianness emerge more or rather your immersion in the American culture? and With what criteria do you adapt the setting in one country rather than in the other?

MN: I think my being “Italian” emerges a lot. What is certain is that having traveled a lot since I was a child and after living in the USA for 13 years, some of my points of view are affected by different cultures. I lived the first 13 years of my life in Northern Italy, then until the age of 24, I lived in Taranto (Puglia, Southern Italy) and, finally, the last 22 years of my life in Italy I spent in Milan.

The different settings are affected only by my knowledge of the various cities. I preferred to set the Legal Thriller series in Seattle, as I know the city and its surroundings quite well.


MTDD: Marcella, it was a great pleasure to have you as my guest today and I am sure we will meet again on other occasions to continue talking about your other publications.

Should some readers be wanting to buy your books or just to contact you, how will they be able to do so?

MN: Thank you to you for the pleasant "chat". Here are some of my references online.

My official website:

My Author Page on Amazon:

My Facebook group of Books, Culture and Curiosities: (1) Il salotto di Marcella Nardi: Cultura, Libri & Curiosita' | Facebook

Legal Thriller - Intervista a Marcella Nardi, Autrice - di Maria Teresa De Donato


Legal Thriller

Intervista a Marcella Nardi, Autrice

di Maria Teresa De Donato

Oggi con grande piacere vi presento un’amica e collega scrittrice, Marcella Nardi, che come me vive da molti anni negli USA. Anche Marcella ha all’attivo numerosissime pubblicazioni, tutte legate, in un modo o nell’altro, al mondo del mistero, delle inchieste, dei polizieschi, del giallo e simili.

Oggi ci soffermeremo su uno dei generi che più l’appassionano: il Legal Thriller.


MTDD: Ciao Marcella e benvenuta nel mio Blog e Salotto Culturale Virtuale. È un piacere averti mia ospite.

MN: Grazie Maria Teresa, sono felice di essere “virtualmente” con te, ora.


MTDD: Marcella, perché non inizi con il presentarti? Raccontaci un po’ di te, chi sei, quali studi hai fatto, carriera, hobby e quant’altro vorrai condividere con il nostro pubblico di lettori.

MN: Sono nata in Veneto in un grazioso paese medievale: Castelfranco Veneto. Ho vissuto in tante città italiane, per via del lavoro di mio padre, prima, e poi per il mio. Papà era vicentino e mamma è pugliese. Credo di aver preso il meglio da entrambi, o questo è quello che mi piace credere. Nel 1986 mi sono laureata in Informatica, lavorando in questo campo per 22 anni, prima di trasferirmi qui in USA. Ho tante passioni e hobby. Amo la storia antica e medievale, la fotografia, i viaggi, il giardinaggio, il bricolage e amo leggere a scrivere. In realtà, ho anche altri interessi. Ma questi già bastano.


MTDD: Da dove e quando nasce il tuo amore per la scrittura e come sei arrivata alla pubblicazione dei tuoi libri?

MN: Amo leggere e scrivere da sempre. Ai miei tempi i bambini leggevano e vedevano in tv quasi le stesse cose dei genitori. Mia madre era una patita dei gialli e scriveva, e scrive tuttora, poesie. Ho imparato a leggere e scrivere prima di iniziare la scuola. Ho abbandonato subito le favole per leggere gialli. Credo che l’amore per i gialli nasca dal fatto che stimolano la nostra mente a scoprire tranelli e intrighi.


MTDD: Da quando hai iniziato la tua attività di scrittrice hai ottenuto vari premi. Vorresti parlarcene spiegandoci con quale criterio hai scelto a quali concorsi letterari partecipare?

MN: Non sono molto incline a partecipare a premi letterari. Pochi sono quelli seri, molti, purtroppo, chiedono solo soldi e basta. I due principali, di cui ho avuto fiducia, sono stati concorsi indetti, come ogni anno, da due enti di alto livello. Uno è l’associazione di cultura medievale “Italia Medievale”, che ogni anno riceve riconoscimenti dalla presidenza della Repubblica Italiana, e l’altro è l’Associazione Italiana del Libro, Scienza e Ricerca” (Italia mia: un premio giovane in mezzo ai giovani ( Il criterio è stato quello dell’argomento e della serietà dei due gruppi. Mi è capitato di partecipare ad altri concorsi, ma spesso è stata solo una perdita di tempo. Nel primo di questi due importanti concorsi, il tema era un romanzo breve ambientato nell’affascinante cornice del medioevo italiano. Lì mi sono classificata terza. Era il 2011. Era invece il 2014 quando vinsi l’unico e primo premio italiano con tema “Italia mia”. Si richiedeva un romanzo breve in cui venisse messa in risalto una bella e storica città italiana. Io trasformai in giallo la storia dantesca di Paolo e Francesca, ambientato a Gradara. Le tre giurie (80 biblioteche italiane, una quarantina di giurati sparsi per l’Italia e il comitato dell’Associazione Italiana del Libro), hanno votato per la mia storia con circa l’87% dei voti. Col tempo ho vinto altri riconoscimenti qua e là, ma di più piccola entità.   


MTDD: Accenniamo un attimo ai generi in cui ti sei cimentata e poi soffermiamoci sul Legal Thriller spiegando che cos’è esattamente ed in che modo si distingue dalle altre categorie.

MN: Mi sono cimentata nei seguenti generi: Mystery storico; Romance; Paranormale; Poliziesco e Legal Thriller.

Il Legal thriller mi affascina un po’ di più del poliziesco perché il detective, solitamente un avvocato penalista, ha molta più libertà nelle indagini poiché non deve seguire un protocollo particolare ma solo il suo istinto, facendo comunque attenzione a non andare contro la legge. Ricordiamo il grande Perry Mason. Nel mio caso, ho creato un avvocato di Seattle, Joe Spark, con un grande amore per il trionfo della Giustizia, quella vera. Infatti, è un avvocato un po’ particolare, di quelli che per che far trionfare la verità, finiscono col guadagnare poco.

Per esseri chiari con chi ci legge, ecco la differenza tra un poliziesco e un Legal thriller:

·      Nel poliziesco, a indagare è sempre un rappresentante dell’ordine. In Italia potrebbero essere la Polizia o i Carabinieri. Il detective deve rispettare un certo iter durante le indagini e deve, o dovrebbe, sempre muoversi nel pieno rispetto della legge/regole inquisitorie.

·     Nel Legal Thriller, a indagare è un avvocato con la passione per le indagini e per il trionfo della “vera giustizia”, non solo di quella dell’avvocato con la miglior favella, come diceva il grande Cicerone. Quindi in un romanzo di questo tipo, il protagonista è più “libero” nelle sue indagini.    

MTDD: So che sei anche un’appassionata di Storia, soprattutto di quella Medievale. In che modo utilizzi e includi questa tua passione nei tuoi libri in generale e nello specifico nei Legal Thriller di cui parleremo oggi?

MN: La mia passione per il Medioevo la uso solo per i romanzi storici. Ne ho scritto uno e un’antologia di racconti medievali.


MTDD: Visto che siamo in tema…e prima di entrare nel vivo delle tue pubblicazioni: Che cos’è la giustizia per Marcella Nardi?                                                                                                                                 

MN: Per me la “giustizia” è qualcosa che va oltre le leggi che possono variare da Stato a Stato. La giustizia dovrebbe essere sempre il trionfo della legge e degli aspetti etici. Tutti siamo uguali, indipendentemente dal sesso, dal colore della pelle e dal ceto socio/economico. Mi rendo conto che la risposta però sia molto difficile e complessa, perché non abbiamo tutti la stessa mentalità.   


MTDD: Nel 2019 hai pubblicato il tuo primo Legal Thriller Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle della serie mozzafiato "Le indagini dell’Avvocato Joe Spark".

Come nasce l’idea di questo libro? Chi è Joe Spark? e Cosa deve/può aspettarsi il pubblico dalla lettura di questo tuo libro?

MN: Joe Spark è un attraente avvocato di Seattle alle porte dei cinquant’anni. Per me è stata una sfida: creare un protagonista uomo, non è stato facile. Mi sono anche chiesta: “Marcella, se tu fossi solo una lettrice, che tipo di uomo vorresti vedere in azione come detective?”. Non è stata, però, solo una sfida in questi termini; è stata, soprattutto, la voglia di sperimentare la costruzione di un nuovo carattere, una nuova personalità e un nuovo approccio alle indagini. Joe Spark è ipocondriaco, non ama la tecnologia, ama la buona cucina e le belle donne, ma con queste ultime ha un rapporto difficile. È però un uomo dalla mente acuta, dotato di grandi doti deduttive e di osservazione. Ama la giustizia, quella vera. In nome della vera giustizia, Joe Spark non sarà mai un avvocato ricco, ma si sentirà sempre attratto dalla scoperta di cosa si cela dietro un crimine.

In “Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle”, il lettore parteciperà nella ricerca dell’assassino, ma quando crederà di avere capito chi sia… ecco che dovrà ripartire da zero. Mi piace, quando scrivo, dare piste credibili ma false per poi avere alla fine più di un solo colpo di scena. Questo romanzo è un vero “cold case” i cui Joe Spark aprirà un vero vaso di Pandora.        


MTDD: Nel 2020 Joe Spark torna alla carica ne L’architetto dei labirinti, il tuo secondo Legal Thriller. Parlaci di questo libro e spiegarci se e in che modo c’è stata nel frattempo un’evoluzione del personaggio ‘Joe Spark’ rispetto a come era e a come aveva operato in Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle.                                                                                          

MN: In questo romanzo presento un Joe Spark che “osa” dichiarare il suo amore a una donna di cui si è innamorato. Lo vediamo più sicuro, pur rimanendo inalterato il suo acume nel risolvere uno strano caso che si apre con la scoperta di un triplice omicidio in una chiesa sconsacrata. Il suo “modus operandi” non cambia, mentre cambia totalmente la tipologia di trama. Vediamo un Joe Spark più sicuro nel prendere certe decisioni non facili. Purtroppo non posso fare spoiler, quindi non posso rivelare alcuni aspetti importanti, ma anche io, come scrittrice, credo di essermi evoluta nel genere Legal thriller, dopo sei romanzi polizieschi. 


MTDD: Nella ricerca di trame, personaggi e contesti storici a tuo avviso emerge più la tua italianità o il tuo esserti immersa nella cultura americana? e Con quale criterio adatti l’ambientazione in un Paese piuttosto che nell’altro?

MN: Credo che emerga molto il mio essere “Italiana”. Certo è che avendo girato tanto fin da piccola e vivendo da 13 anni in USA, alcuni miei punti di vista risentono di differenti culture. Ho vissuto i primi 13 anni della mia vita al Nord Italia, poi fino ai 24 anni ho abitato a Taranto e, infine, gli ultimi 22 anni di vita in Italia li ho trascorsi a Milano.  

Le diverse ambientazioni risentono solo della mia conoscenza delle varie città. La serie Legal Thriller ho preferito ambientarla a Seattle, visto che conosco abbastanza bene la città e i dintorni. 


MTDD: Marcella, è stato un grande piacere averti mia ospite oggi e sono certa che ci rivedremo in altre occasioni per continuare a parlare delle tue altre pubblicazioni.

Nel caso ci fossero lettori che desiderassero acquistare i tuoi libri o semplicemente contattarti in che modo potranno farlo?

MN: Grazie a te per la piacevole “chiacchierata”. Di seguito alcuni miei rifermenti in rete.

Il mio sito ufficiale:

La mia Pagina Autore su Amazon:

Il mio gruppo Facebook di Libri, Cultura e Curiosità: (1) Il salotto di Marcella Nardi: Cultura, Libri & Curiosita' | Facebook

Legal Thriller - Interview mit Marcella Nardi, Autorin - von Maria Teresa De Donato


Legal Thriller

Interview mit Marcella Nardi, Autorin

von Maria Teresa De Donato


Heute präsentiere ich Euch mit großer Freude eine Freundin und Mitautorin, Marcella Nardi, die wie ich seit vielen Jahren in den USA lebt. Marcella hat auch zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen zu ihrem Verdienst, die alle auf die eine oder andere Weise mit der Welt der Geheimnisse, Ermittlungen, Detektivgeschichten, und dergleichen verbunden sind.

Heute konzentrieren wir uns auf eine der Gattungen, die sie am meisten begeistern: der legale Thriller.


MTDD: Hallo Marcella und willkommen in meinem Blog und virtuell-kulturellen Salon. Es ist mir eine Freude, Dich als meine Gastin zu haben.

MN: Danke Maria Teresa, ich bin froh, jetzt "virtuell" bei Dir zu sein.


MTDD: Marcella, warum stellst Du Dich nicht zuerst vor? Erzähle uns ein wenig über Dich selbst, wer Du bist, welche Studien Du gemacht hast, Karriere, Hobbys und alles andere, was Du mit unserem Leserpublikum teilen möchtest.

MN: Ich wurde in Venetien in einer hübschen mittelalterlichen Stadt geboren: Castelfranco Veneto. Ich habe in vielen italienischen Städten gelebt, zuerst wegen der Arbeit meines Vaters und dann wegen meiner. Papa war aus Vicenza und Mama ist aus Apulien. Ich glaube, ich habe das Beste von beidem bekommen, oder das glaube ich gerne. 1986 schloss ich mein Informatikstudium ab und arbeitete 22 Jahre in diesem Bereich, bevor ich hierher in die USA zog. Ich habe viele Leidenschaften und Hobbys. Ich liebe alte und mittelalterliche Geschichte, Fotografie, Reisen, Gartenarbeit, Heimwerken und ich liebe es zu lesen und zu schreiben. Tatsächlich habe ich auch andere Interessen. Aber das ist schon genug.


MTDD: Woher und wann kam Deine Liebe zum Schreiben und wie bist Du zur Veröffentlichung Deiner Bücher gekommen?

MN: Ich habe es immer geliebt zu lesen und zu schreiben. Zu meiner Zeit lasen und sahen Kinder im Fernsehen fast die gleichen Dinge wie ihre Eltern. Meine Mutter war ein Verbrechensfan und schrieb und schreibt immer noch Gedichte. Ich habe vor Schulbeginn lesen und schreiben gelernt. Ich gab Märchen sofort auf, um Detektivgeschichten zu lesen. Ich glaube, dass die Liebe zu Thrillern aus der Tatsache entsteht, dass sie unseren Geist dazu anregen, Fallen und Intrigen zu entdecken.


MTDD: Seit Du Dein Schreibgeschäft begonnen hast, hast Du verschiedene Auszeichnungen erhalten. Möchtest Du uns davon erzählen, indem Du uns erklärst, nach welchen Kriterien Du die Literaturwettbewerbe ausgewählt hast, an denen Du teilnehmen möchtest?

MN: Ich bin nicht sehr geneigt, an Literaturpreisen teilzunehmen. Nur wenige sind die Ernsthaften, viele fragen leider nur nach Geld und das war's. Die beiden wichtigsten, denen ich vertraute, waren Wettbewerbe, die wie jedes Jahr von zwei hochrangigen Organisationen durchgeführt wurden. Einer ist der mittelalterliche Kulturverband "Mittelalterliches Italien", der jedes Jahr von der Präsidentschaft der Italienischen Republik ausgezeichnet wird, und der andere ist der italienische Verband für Buch, Wissenschaft und Forschung "(Italia mia: eine junge Auszeichnung unter den jungen Menschen ( Das Kriterium war das des Themas und die Ernsthaftigkeit der beiden Gruppen. Ich habe zufällig an anderen Wettbewerben teilgenommen, aber oft war es nur Zeitverschwendung. Im ersten dieser beiden wichtigen Wettbewerbe war das Thema ein kurzer Roman, der in der faszinierenden Kulisse des italienischen Mittelalters spielt. Dort belegte ich den dritten Platz. Es war 2011. Stattdessen war es 2014, als ich den einzigen und ersten italienischen Preis mit dem Thema "Mein Italien" gewann. Es wurde ein kurzer Roman benötigt, in dem eine schöne und historische italienische Stadt hervorgehoben wurde. Ich verwandelte Dantes Geschichte von Paolo und Francesca in Kriminalroman, der in Gradara spielt. Die drei Jurys (80 italienische Bibliotheken, ungefähr vierzig Juroren in ganz Italien und das Komitee der italienischen Buchvereinigung) stimmten mit ungefähr 87% der Stimmen für meine Geschichte. Im Laufe der Zeit habe ich hier und da andere Preise gewonnen, aber von einem kleineren Unternehmen.


MTDD: Lass uns für einen Moment die Gattungen erwähnen, in denen Du Dich versucht hast, und dann konzentrieren wir uns auf Legal Thriller und erklären, was genau es ist und wie es sich von anderen Kategorien unterscheidet.

MN: Ich habe mich in folgende Gattungen gewagt: Historical Mystery; Romantik; Paranormal; Kriminalroman und Legal Thriller.

Der Legal-Thriller fasziniert mich ein wenig mehr als der Kriminalroman, da der Detective, normalerweise ein Strafverteidiger, viel mehr Freiheit bei den Ermittlungen hat, da er nicht einem bestimmten Protokoll folgen muss, sondern nur seinem Instinkt, während er darauf achtet, nicht dagegen vorzugehen das Gesetz. Wir erinnern uns an den großen Perry Mason. In meinem Fall schuf ich einen Anwalt in Seattle, Joe Spark, mit einer großen Liebe für den Triumph der Gerechtigkeit, den echten. Tatsächlich ist er ein etwas besonderer Anwalt, einer von denen, die am Ende wenig verdienen, um die Wahrheit zum Triumph zu bringen.

Um mit denen, die uns lesen, klar zu sein, hier ist der Unterschied zwischen einem Detektiv (Kriminalroman) und einem legalen Thriller:

• Bei der Polizei ist der Ermittler immer ein Vertreter des Ordens. In Italien könnte es die Polizei oder die Carabinieri sein. Der Detektiv muss während der Untersuchung ein bestimmtes Verfahren einhalten und muss oder sollte sich stets in voller Übereinstimmung mit den gesetzlichen/inquisitorischen Regeln bewegen.

• In Legal Thriller ist der Ermittler ein Anwalt mit einer Leidenschaft für Ermittlungen und für den Triumph der "wahren Gerechtigkeit", nicht nur der des Anwalts mit der besten Rede, wie der große Cicero sagte. In einem Roman dieser Art ist der Protagonist in seinen Untersuchungen "freier".


MTDD: Ich weiß, dass Du auch eine Leidenschaft für die Geschichte hast, besonders für die mittelalterliche. Wie nutzt Du Deine Leidenschaft und nimmst sie in Deine Bücher im Allgemeinen und speziell in die Legal Thriller auf, über die wir heute sprechen werden?

MN: Ich benutze meine Leidenschaft für das Mittelalter nur für historische Romane. Ich schrieb eine und eine Anthologie mittelalterlicher Geschichten.


MTDD: Da wir uns mit diesem Thema befassen ... und bevor wir Deine Veröffentlichungen auf den Punkt bringen: Was ist Gerechtigkeit für Marcella Nardi?

MN: Für mich ist "Gerechtigkeit" etwas, das über die Gesetze hinausgeht, die von Staat zu Staat variieren können. Gerechtigkeit sollte immer der Triumph des Gesetzes und ethischer Aspekte sein. Wir sind alle gleich, unabhängig von Geschlecht, Hautfarbe und sozioökonomischem Hintergrund. Mir ist klar, dass die Antwort jedoch sehr schwierig und komplex ist, weil wir nicht alle die gleiche Mentalität haben.


MTDD: 2019 hast Du Deinen ersten Legal Thriller Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle (Tod im Schatten der Space Needle) in der atemberaubenden Serie "The Investigations of Attorney Joe Spark" veröffentlicht.

Wie ist die Idee zu diesem Buch entstanden? Wer ist Joe Spark? und Was sollte/kann die Öffentlichkeit von Deinem Buch erwarten?

MN: Joe Spark ist ein attraktiver Anwalt in Seattle, Anfang fünfzig. Für mich war es eine Herausforderung: Es war nicht einfach, einen männlichen Protagonisten zu schaffen. Ich fragte mich auch: "Marcella, wenn Du nur eine Leserin wärest, welche Art von Mann würdest Du gerne als Detektiv in Aktion sehen?" Es war jedoch nicht nur eine Herausforderung in dieser Hinsicht; es war vor allem der Wunsch, mit der Konstruktion eines neuen Charakters, einer neuen Persönlichkeit und einer neuen Herangehensweise an Untersuchungen zu experimentieren. Joe Spark ist ein Hypochonder, er mag keine Technologie, er liebt gutes Essen und schöne Frauen, aber er hat eine schwierige Beziehung zu letzteren. Er ist jedoch ein Mann mit einem scharfen Verstand, der über große deduktive Fähigkeiten und Beobachtungsfähigkeiten verfügt. Liebe Gerechtigkeit, die Wahre. Im Namen der wahren Gerechtigkeit wird Joe Spark niemals ein wohlhabender Anwalt sein, aber er wird sich immer dazu hingezogen fühlen, herauszufinden, was hinter einem Verbrechen steckt.

In Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle  wird der Leser an der Suche nach dem Mörder teilnehmen, aber wenn er glaubt, herausgefunden zu haben, wer er ist ... muss er hier von vorne anfangen. Ich mag es, wenn ich schreibe, glaubwürdige, aber falsche Hinweise zu geben und dann am Ende mehr als eine Wendung zu haben. Dieser Roman ist ein echter "kalter Fall", in dem Joe Spark eine echte Büchse der Pandora öffnen wird.


MTDD: Im Jahr 2020 kehrt Joe Spark zu L’architetto dei labirinti (Der Architekt der Labyrinthe) zurück, Deinem zweiten Legal Thriller. Erzähle uns von diesem Buch und erkläre, ob und wie sich der Charakter 'Joe Spark' in der Zwischenzeit weiterentwickelt hat, verglichen mit dem, wie er war und wie er in Morte all’Ombra dello Space Needle operiert hat.


MN: In diesem Roman stelle ich einen Joe Spark vor, der es "wagt", einer Frau, in die er sich verliebt hat, seine Liebe zu erklären. Wir sehen ihn sicherer, während sein Scharfsinn bei der Lösung eines seltsamen Falls, der mit der Entdeckung eines dreifachen Mordes in einer entweihten Kirche beginnt, unverändert bleibt. Sein "Modus Operandi" ändert sich nicht, während sich die Art der Handlung völlig ändert. Wir sehen einen Joe Spark, der sicherer ist, bestimmte schwierige Entscheidungen zu treffen. Leider kann ich nicht verderben, so dass ich einige wichtige Aspekte nicht offenbaren kann, aber ich glaube auch, dass ich als Schriftstellerin mich nach sechs Kriminalromanen zum Legal-Thriller-Genre entwickelt habe.


MTDD: Tritt bei Deiner Suche nach Handlungen, Charakteren und historischen Kontexten Deiner Meinung nach Deine Italienerin auf oder hast Du Dich in die amerikanische Kultur vertieft? und Mit welchen Kriterien passt Du die Einstellung in einem Land an und nicht in dem anderen?

MN: Ich denke, dass ich sehr italienisch bin. Sicher ist, dass einige meiner Sichtweisen von verschiedenen Kulturen beeinflusst werden, da ich seit meiner Kindheit viel gereist bin und 13 Jahre in den USA gelebt habe. Ich habe die ersten 13 Jahre meines Lebens in Norditalien gelebt, dann bis zum Alter von 24 Jahren in Taranto und schließlich die letzten 22 Jahre meines Lebens in Italien, die ich in Mailand verbracht habe.

Die verschiedenen Einstellungen werden nur durch meine Kenntnis der verschiedenen Städte beeinflusst. Ich habe es vorgezogen, die Legal Thriller-Serie in Seattle zu spielen, da ich die Stadt und ihre Umgebung recht gut kenne.


MTDD: Marcella, es war mir eine große Freude, Dich heute als meine Gastin zu haben, und ich bin sicher, wir werden uns bei anderen Gelegenheiten wiedersehen, um weiter über Deine anderen Veröffentlichungen zu sprechen.

Wenn es Leser gibt, die Deine Bücher kaufen oder sich einfach mit Dir in Verbindung setzen möchten, wie werden sie das tun?

MN: Vielen Dank für den angenehmen "Chat". Hier sind einige meiner Referenzen online.

Meine offizielle Website:

Meine Autorenseite bei Amazon:

Meine Facebook-Gruppe von Büchern, Kultur und Kuriositäten: (1) Il salotto di Marcella Nardi: Cultura, Libri & Curiosita' | Facebook



Thursday, April 1, 2021

Genealogy: Volturara Irpina (AV) and the history of its families - Interview with Edmondo Marra - by Maria Teresa De Donato


Genealogy: Volturara Irpina (AV) and the history of its families

Interview with Edmondo Marra

by Maria Teresa De Donato


Another very welcome guest came back to visit us today on my Blog and Virtual Cultural Salon.

It’s my dear friend and colleague-author Dr. Edmondo Marra, retired physician and former Mayor of Volturara Irpina, the native land of a branch of my ancestors.

The topics Edmondo and I can talk about are many, as many are the books he published over the years, and that are available on the Amazon Distribution Channel and can also be ordered at the bookstores.

With Edmondo we had two other previous interviews – whose reading I recommend to all the friends who follow us – entitled respectively Neighborhood and sense of community: Volturara Irpina (Av), centered on the history of this town and on some aspects that have characterized it over the centuries, including the phenomenon of banditry, and Irpinia Between History and Legend, in which we considered various themes and characters whose lives are lost in the mists of time and continue to fascinate us while oscillating between reality and fantasy.

Today, therefore, we shall be continuing the analysis of the history of Volturara Irpinia (AV) and of Irpinia in general, examining in particular the families that over the centuries contributed to its growth from all points of view.



MTDD: Hello Edmondo and thank you for accepting my invitation. It is always a pleasure to talk to you.

EM: Thanks Teresa. Being a guest of your Virtual Salon is a very welcome moment for me. I participate with enthusiasm because you are a person who promotes culture without having a second agenda, but just for the sake of knowing and studying.


MTDD: I heartily thank you for these words of yours, Edmondo, which are also applicable to you, whom I admire and respect very much, and I feel honored to be a friend of.

For those who do not know you yet, would you like to explain how your love for genealogy was born and why did you feel the need to do all this research and immortalize it in your books?

EM: Discovering the names, the events and maybe the faces of my ancestors has been a dream of mine since I was a boy and I was able to make it come true over time with enormous sacrifices overcoming difficulties that seemed insurmountable. Today I can be satisfied because I was able to compose the family tree of my family and my wife's family up to 1500 with all its components, male and female. As you can imagine, the search range is immense. 4 parents, 8 grandparents, 16 great-grandparents, 32 great-great-grandparents, etc. To get to the fifteenth generation there are thousands of names and I think that, if put on a wall, it has an enormous length. The nice aspect that no one points out is that the presence of each of us on this world is a true miracle of nature. It would have been enough if any of our ancestors had died before, from one of the many epidemics, or had thought of something else that day and we would never have been born. Who knows how many poets, writers, scientists, musicians were not born because their ancestor died before procreating them for contingent causes such as diseases and/or wars.

Over time, research has become a real passion and I have been collecting and scanning documents for years. I spent whole days in the municipal, parish and provincial archives to photograph and collect material. I was also helped by boys and girls who allowed me to create an immense multimedia archive by reconstructing the history of my town with forgotten or never mentioned events and characters. I have transcribed in Excel all the marriages, births, and deaths of my town and today I am able to create the family tree of every Volturarese citizen in one day. Over time I published a book on Amazon on each local surname (about twenty) with the family trees of each branch to also see the degree of kinship between them and to allow everyone to get closer to this science I am extremely fond of. Knowing the past is the viaticum to live the future with happiness and remembering who generated us is a duty as well as a great pleasure.


MTDD: The material to consider is very vast, just like there are many Volturarese families that have distinguished themselves over the centuries.

I would suggest, therefore, to start from yours ... that is, from Marra and/or Della Marra ...

EM: I started with researching my family and I expanded on the Marra of my town which are more than 400. Then I discovered that in 1500 the first ancestor that originated the Marra family in Volturara actually came from a nearby town, Serino, and I started reading the notarial deeds of that town going back in time. The della Marra family with its members appeared and I discovered that it was a noble family from Barletta that managed the fiefs of Serino and Volturara for over 200 years from the end of 1200 to 1530. So far, I have not been able to connect the della Marra family to the common Marra due to lack of documents, but it is certain that before the arrival of the della Marra in Serino, the Marra family did not exist in that area, so there is a certain link between the arrival of the della Marra and the common Marra, but I don't know what it is. The Internet was very useful to me at this stage because the Della Marra family history is well documented and I discover that it is a Norman family that arrived in Italy with William of Hauteville in 1037 and distinguished itself in the kingdom over the centuries for power and wealth. The first news is given in Ravello and then in Barletta from where they spread throughout the south, buying fiefdoms and contracting well-chosen marriages. Research on its origins before arriving in Italy led me to Normandy in Sainte Opportune la Mare and to Norway in a fjord called Maera (Mare), from where they would have left in 912 AD.


MTDD: Absolutely fascinating! I am delighted that you too have managed to go back so far in time to discover your origins. Another family that you mentioned in our previous interviews is precisely that of the Pennetti, from which I am descended through my paternal grandmother Teresa, whom I did not know because she died young when my father was only eleven, and my paternal great-grandfather Vincenzo, and of which, thanks to your painstaking research and documentation, I was able – and I thank you from the bottom of my heart – to reconstruct that branch of the family tree of back to 1600.

For those who have not yet had the opportunity to read our previous interviews, would you like to summarize some aspects that characterized these ancestors of mine? What did they stand out in particular and why do you think they deserve to be mentioned?

EM: I found the Pennetti family since the first notarial deeds of Volturara dating back to 1572 (in the Latin documents it is Pendecta, then Pendetta, Pennetta and from 700 Pennetti). It is certainly one of the oldest families in my town and, for me, the family of notables par excellence. The notaries are Pennetti as early as the seventeenth century, the doctors are Pennetti and they are your direct ancestors. They made the history of Volturara, maintaining an elegant attitude without overdoing it and almost always having a good relationship with the people. Enlightened, and prone to social and political changes over time, they overcame the tormented events of the history of the South with respect and culture. In the 1700s they split into two branches, sometimes opposed to each other, and in the 1800s only the branch of your family remained, while the other became extinct due to lack of male heirs. After the unification of Italy, your great-great-grandfather Gerardo, a lawyer, moved to Ariano Irpino, where your great-grandfather Vincenzo was born, maintaining relations with his town from time to time. The two sons Vincenzo and Giuseppe lived between Naples, Avellino, Volturara and the nearby village Sorbo Serpico where they owned a villa.

Giuseppe was an engineer and an excellent local history writer. At the end of the nineteenth century he moved to Basilicata.

Vincenzo is an Irpinia and Volturarese glory who excelled in journalism (founder of some provincial newspapers) fighting the malpractice of politicians and powerful people, and in culture (he published several books with research and studies on the ancient world). Graduated in law at the age of 30, he became a university chair at the Federico II of Naples in civil law. He died the following year, aged 31, of an intestinal infection in a period where there were no antibiotics. He also loved the worldly life and was a friend of Salvatore di Giacomo and other Neapolitan poets and writers.


MTDD: Very interesting. I almost feel like I'm in their midst as you describe my ancestors to me.

Which families have contributed most to the social and political development of this land and how have they done so?

EM: In addition to the Pennetti, very few have given their commitment to improve their town. All aimed at taking rather than at giving, they contributed to maintaining a status quo of poverty and immobility that created a massive emigration at the end of the 19th century, after the Second World War and in the last ten years. The Pennetti themselves sold their properties in town and left after the war.

First of all, the great historian and man of faith, Father Alessandro Di Meo (1726-1786), author of the Annals of the Kingdom of Naples in middle age in twelve volumes, the source of all Italian and European historians, should be remembered.

Antonio Masucci (1618-1682), a conventual friar in Naples, author of many novels lost by now in the wind of forgetfulness.

Vincenzo Pasquale (1841-1917) author of some unpublished works, which I had the pleasure of publishing over time thanks to his descendants who gave me the unpublished manuscripts.

Roberto Rezieri Di Meo author of The History of Volturara in 1989. Nicolina Catarinella, living, who has written a lot about local history and customs with several books published.


MTDD: Which families have distinguished themselves from a cultural and artistic point of view?

EM: The Pennetti, Masucci, Di Meo, De Feo, Marra family.


MTDD: Can you give us an overview of the other families that have most left their mark on the history of Volturara and Irpinia, indicating the area?

EM: It is a very broad subject that is difficult to address in a few lines. I reserve the right to tell you about it on another occasion


MTDD: Very well. I will be very happy to have you again as my guest.

In the spiritual and religious area, which are the families from which personalities were born who particularly distinguished themselves and were most loved by the local population and why?

EM: The Di Meo family, which is very widespread in my town, has as its reference the figure of Father Alessandro, present in the main square with a life-size bronze statue donated to the Municipality by emigrants to America in 1926.


MTDD: What are the Volturarese families whose surnames are associated with individuals who 'reigned' or who in any case belonged (and/or still belong) to the aristocracy?

EM: In the centuries-old history of my town, as a local, only Decio Masuccio was the owner of Volturara from 1596 to 1627, buying the fief from Antonio Carafa de Marra and acquiring the title of Baron. All other families belonged to notables and small landowners, being the local territory enclosed in a beautiful but not too large valley.


MTDD: Were there any dynasties, even between rulers and aristocrats, of Volturara that became extinct over time?

EM: The barons Nicola and Corrado della Marra bought the fief of Volturara in 1303 and passed it on from son to son for nine generations until 1530 for a total of 227 years. The family died out in 1600. All the feudal lords of the town resided in Naples with a local contact person who acted as a tax collector and were not Volturaresi.


MTDD: Edmondo, do you think this historical and genealogical research work of yours is concluded or is there still a lot to 'dig up and bring to light'?

EM: There is still a lot to read and to look for, even if the interest of the people is minimal and there is no space for local history in schools. I would like to be able to understand, for example, the thread that binds the Della Marra to the current Marra in a scientific way as required by genealogy, but I can't find the documents, or understand the origin of the surnames since they were established.

Like many towns, Volturara has participated in the events of the kingdom of Naples over the centuries with characters and episodes to be discovered, for now forgotten in pages of archives that no one can find, given the vastness of the number of documents and the low visibility of them.


MTDD: Following the terrible earthquake that destroyed Irpinia in 1980, much of the material in the archives has been lost.

How were you able to continue your research? What tools did you use?

EM: Unfortunately in the village there has never been a classification of municipal and parish documents, but ultimately almost all the documents existing after the earthquake have been saved, even if some have deteriorated. Most of them are in the provincial archives in Avellino which have not received excessive damage and which can be easily consulted. The big problem are the documents of the Angevin age of Naples which were destroyed by a fire caused by the Nazis. A huge and irreparable loss for the culture of the South.

It is precisely the network of National Historical Archives that is giving great help to both historical and genealogical research through the online publication of all the documents of births, marriages, and deaths from 1809 to 1920 of the Italian Municipalities with the possibility of being able to consult them freely on line. We are at the beginning, but if they also put the other documents by scanning them, every scholar will have the opportunity to be able to consult any type of document from home without problems.


MTDD: We hope this happens soon. It would be wonderful to have the opportunity to continue these searches and discover many other 'hidden treasures'.

Are there other aspects, always related to your publications on genealogy, that we have not covered? If so, I'd love you to mention them ...

EM: My dream is to find an expert who creates a program with a search engine to sell to all the Municipalities with which every citizen can build the genealogical tree of his family directly online on the institution's website with a link, possibly for free.


MTDD: It seems to me a really excellent idea. I wish you to be able to make it happen as soon as possible.

Those who wish to do so, how will they be able to contact you?

EM: My email is


MTDD: Thank you, Edmondo, for joining us today and for all the information you have provided. Genealogy is a matter of fact endless. I am sure, and I sincerely hope that your fellow citizens not only appreciate all the work you have done in this field over the years, but that they might also recognize its cultural and social value, aimed at researching and documenting the history of your people, your land, and your local culture.

Remembering and treasuring one's origins is vital for all peoples.

EM: Thanks to you, Teresa, for the further opportunity given to me to talk about my microcosm to which I have sought and am trying to give a historical memory so as not to disperse the values, actions, ideals delivered to us by those who were before us. My passion for history does not take me away from current reality, on the contrary it makes me understand it with intense meanings that often are overlooked by many people. I will continue to look for ancient papers, with forgotten characters, unknown events and books that no one has read in the hope of enriching my knowledge and giving, to those who will come after us, news about a world that has undergone major changes in recent decades, completely canceling uses and customs that have constituted the life of our ancestors for many centuries in a slow and constant becoming that the third millennium throws into the bin of forgetfulness quickly and often unfairly.

Thank you, and I shall talk to you soon!