Keywords: Italy, Mystery Fiction, Early 20th Century
This essay investigates the development of the mystery genre in Italy during the Fascist era. In particular, it analyzes the multiple ways in which Italian authors dealt with the strong influence coming from well established foreign traditions of mystery literature such as the English and the French ones. As a reaction to this situation, writers of early Italian mysteries resorted mainly to hybridization of heterogeneous elements from foreign genre conventions. While in most cases this procedure ended up emphasizing (rather than annulling) the burden of tradition these writers were trying to free themselves from, in rare instances the process of genre hybridization has resulted in interesting self-reflective works that offer a reflection on the identity of the genre as a whole.