Camilla Trinchieri to Participate in the Tucson Festival of Books

The March 4-5, 2023 Tucson Festival of Books in Tucson Arizona

Early in March 2023,  you will find mystery author Camilla Trinchieri presenting her views on mysteries and mystery writing on two panels at the annual Tucson Festival of Books.

1. Global Deception

Panelists:  Francine Matthews, Devon Mihesuah and Camilla Trinchieri

2. Bookseller, Detective, Sheriff

Panelists: Ellery Adams, Terry Shames and Camilla Trinchieri

For more Information

Visit Camilla Trinchieri’s Festival of Books author page.

Awards for Seeking Alice

2017 IASA Book Award

The Italian American Studies Association committee is pleased to present the 2017 Book Award to Camilla Trinchieri for Seeking Alice (Excelsior Editions, State University of New York Press 2016).

The committee found this novel to be a wonderful work of large scope, meaningful detail, and evocative emotion. A rich saga, Seeking Alice tells a story of moral complexity during a momentous time in US / Italy relations. It describes Rome with a painterly precision. It is a story of philosophical weight and electric prose.

Dennis Barone, University of Saint Joseph

Joanna Clapps Herman, Manhattanville College

Fred Misurella, East Stroudsburg University

Seeking Alice-Shows What Good Fiction Can Do

Seeking Alice
A novel by Camilla Trinchieri
(SUNY Press, Excelsior editions), 224 pp., $19.95.

Key words in the title of this absorbing narrative about the devastations of war on love are “a novel,” because the dedication, “In Memoriam,” alludes to what the story itself seems to evoke, a sense that this moving fictional narrative has a strong basis in reality. If so, it nonetheless shows what good fiction can often do that memoirs and autobiographies cannot:  rise above historical facts to enunciate a theme that extends beyond the particular time and place, here central Europe in the early forties. The book’s epigraph would suggest as much. It’s from William Faulkner – “Memory believes before knowing remembers,”  a  gnomic statement that might mean that the heart knows instinctively what  evidence only later affirms, the point being, as it is for the central character in Seeking Alice, that deep and abiding bonds never die and may in fact contradict reports of the death of a loved one.

Susie, the oldest of Alice’s three children, opens the novel with a first-person narration set in Cambridge, MA. It’s 1956. She’s happily married and is expecting her first child, but she’s forever haunted by nightmares and faint memories of  being in Prague, then Italy, with her beloved mother, Alice, or Alinka as she was  called by her husband and friends.  “Mama has come back into my head. I need her, want her here to guide me.” But as far as Susie  knows and as her younger brother insists, their mother is dead, a victim of the war, shot on Christmas Eve as she pushed Susie and her baby  sister Claire through a wire fence in Nazi-infested Italy to safety in Switzerland in 1943. Before that, though, as Susie remembers, Alice was dying in another way, mentally, emotionally, incarcerated in an institution in Rome and given shock therapy. Susie’s brother, Andy, a talented frail musician, had been spirited away to safety in Spain  by their father. Papa was an Italian diplomat, the Vice Consul, during the Fascist and Nazi regimes.

Switch to a first-person narration by Mama, October 1941. Alice is pregnant (with Claire) and is still “awash in peace, happiness,” but as much as Alice adores her handsome husband Marco, she despises the Nazis and the Fascists, particularly when, like Reinhard Heydrich, they come visiting their home in Prague.  It’s still early in war, but, as Alice says, “Before Prague I didn’t know `Jew’ in any language.”  Her husband makes apologies for his position and wants her to conform. He’s anxious about protecting them, especially after America enters the war. This political difference infects their relationship, despite fervent sexual passion between them and a genuine shared love of their children. But as events grow more dire, with bombings and hardships, Alice becomes unhinged and wants out, out of Prague, Rome, Europe. They lived for a while in the States (in Newport). She wants to get back. Marco says he cannot leave his post and protect them. He’s often away anyway, and at least on one occasion, is discovered by Alice to have been having an affair. She may be a bit willing to forgive him for that but not for the wider deception: “He has deceived me, deceived his children, and by wearing a Fascist uniform only for personal convenience, he has ended up deceiving even those faceless men who died in Russia and Africa.” She feels herself becoming a different person.” Wartime is woman’s time. Blame it on the war.” At one point she makes Susie write 100 times: “I am an American.”

It was a clever move, stylistically divide the narrative into alternating streams of consciousness of mother and child, both seeing similar events with some differences though the basic facts remain. The war is finally over and Susie is in Cambridge, awaiting the birth of her child. But what happened to Alice? Papa never talked about her and the children have only their dreams. Andy is convinced Alice is dead, and yet finds slips of paper after Papa dies, that show him paying sums of money to nuns in Rome. Intuitively, without reason or cause, Susie determines to seek Alice, to find out what happened after that Christmas Eve when she and Claire were pushed into Switzerland. Suspense builds, and Trinchieri drives toward her conclusion with skill and heart.#

Education Update – May 2016


Gripping Story of Love and Loss – Midwest Book Review

Midwest Book Review“Seeking Alice” is a gripping story of love and loss that centers on Marco, an Italian diplomat; Alice, his American wife; and their young children. Stationed in Prague during World War II, Marco and Alice become enemies when the United States enters the war, forcing Alice and the children to move from Prague to Rome and finally to Cernobbio in a desperate attempt to flee to Switzerland. Through alternating passages narrated by Alice and daughter Susie, readers shuttle back and forth between war-torn Europe and 1950s Massachusetts to search for answers and unravel the mystery about what really happened to Alice during the war. “Seeking Alice” by Camilla Trinchieri is a deftly crafted and compelling story of the disintegration of an American and Italian family caught in Europe during World War II. It is one of those all-too-rare novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Seeking Alice” is also available in a Kindle format

Midwest Book Review – October 2016

Foreword Reviews – “Seeking Alice”

Forward Reviews

“This novel blends a deeply emotional story with an environment that is captivating in its danger and complexity.”

In Camilla Trinchieri’s Seeking Alice, World War II is a force that makes it difficult for families to stay together. With a careful hand, Trinchieri paints a realistic picture of how love, betrayal, loss, and guilt shape one family in a period when the parameters of daily life shifted constantly.

Seeking Alice CoverAlice and Marco are living in Prague with their three children when WWII breaks out. As an Italian diplomat, Marco must toe the Fascist Party line in order to protect his family, but his American wife, Alice, struggles to hide her
disgust for the Nazi leaders who come to dinner. As the war continues, the family moves from Prague to Rome, with members separating off one by one, until Alice makes a desperate decision to cross the border into Switzerland with her two daughters. Fifteen years after the war, on the verge of becoming a mother herself, Susie feels compelled to find out what really happened to her mother that pivotal night.

Told through the alternating viewpoints of Alice in 1941 and her daughter, Susie, in 1956, the novel focuses on the complicated roles of women, magnifying those roles with the caustic effects of war. “Wartime is woman’s time,” says Alice’s friend, Ersilia. In many ways she is right. Women must largely go it alone, finding freedoms they hadn’t had before and dealing with added burdens, too. Trinchieri deftly shows that balancing roles is difficult, as events affect Alice as a wife and conflict with her needs as an individual, resulting in unintended consequences for her children. Such complications are related evenly with the story showcasing the good, the bad, and the heartbreaking without passing narrative judgment. The characters do enough judging themselves.

This novel blends a deeply emotional story with an environment that is captivating in its danger and complexity. The pace builds slowly over time, until Alice and her daughters’ pulse-quickening attempt to escape over the border into Switzerland. Seeking Alice is a fully engaging story that doesn’t let go until the final page.


Seeking Alice
Camilla Trinchieri
SUNY Press (Jun 1, 2016)
Softcover $19.95 (230pp)

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author provided free copies of his/her book to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love and make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Trouble with New York City by Camilla Crespi

In the Summer 2016 issue of Mystery Readers Journal, Camilla Crespi wrote an article called “The Trouble with New York City.”ArticlebyCamilla in Mystery Reader

From the first page of my first mystery — The Trouble with a Small Raise:

“It’s a very jagged city,” Fred said quietly.

“Very different from your soft Roman skyline.” He turned toward me, the stern look beginning to melt in the sunlight. “Are you sure you want to live here?”

“Yes,” I answered.

I was speaking for my character, Simona Griffo, but I was also speaking for myself. New York was my new adventure and my escape from a life in Rome that no longer made me happy. As the song says, I wanted to make a brand new start of it.

I have lived in many different cities and countries while growing up, thanks to my Italian diplomat father. Sense of place has always been very important to me. It grounds me. It took a few years for me to acclimatize to New York. I wandered the city, observing the diversity of the people, how the neighborhoods could change from wealthy to poor in a matter of a few blocks, how masses of people rushed out of the subways like ants running from danger, how thick with shoppers and foreigners Fifth Avenue was. How kind everyone was when I looked lost. Slowly the go-for-it, you-can-do-it , anything-is-possible spirit that is at the heart of the city sank in. When it did, it gave me the courage to start writing.

My boss in the advertising agency where I worked as an art buyer wouldn’t give me a raise, so I decided to take my revenge by killing him off in print. It gave me a chance to show my readers the backstabbing, the jealousies, and also the fun found in a successful New York advertising agency, predating Mad Men by quite a few years. Always I tried to give my readers a solid sense of place.

I followed The Trouble with a Small Raise with six more in the series. The second one, The Trouble with Moonlighting, ventured out in the streets of the city, starting at Lincoln Center, where Simona moonlights as dialogue coach for an Italian film crew, to Central Park West, Greenwich Village, Spanish Harlem, the Polish enclave of Greenpoint, and back to the advertising agency.

New York’s garment industry was an essential part of The Trouble with a Bad Fit. I spent countless hours at the Fashion Institute of Technology, reading up on the history of American fashion, on how garments are made. I spent two weeks in a showroom to see how dresses were sold. I had fun and at the end of the mystery I added fashion footnotes to show my readers what I had gleaned with my research.

I confess that I wasn’t always a faithful to my new city. Simona flew off to a Club Med for an advertising shoot in one novel. She flew home to Rome in another and took a vacation in East Hampton, which many New Yorkers consider just another city neighborhood.

I stopped writing the Simona series and began working hard on another New York story inspired by a scene I saw in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, a park made famous by Henry James. On a bench, a mother and two-year-old daughter were gazing at each other with palpable love. My mystery-loving mind looked at them and wondered “what if the child… ”.

The Price of Silence was published under my real name, Trinchieri, as it was a darker, more intense mystery. This time my protagonists move from a New York courthouse where Emma, the
main character is on trial for murder, to the Lower East Side where she teaches English as a second language to Columbia University and Morningside Heights where she lives.

I went back to a lighter, food-filled mystery with The Breakfast Club Murder, which was published last year. This time I added an
imaginary small town in Connecticut as my base, but Lori, the newly-divorced protagonist, happily comes to Little Italy to shop for the party she’s catering, and, with a possible new beau, goes to Greenwich Village to eat goat cheese ravioli in pancetta and shallot sauce at the three-star restaurant, Gotham Bar and Grill.

New York will always be part of my writing even if the setting is somewhere else. It will reside between the lines. New York is in my blood now. The city is a constant inspiration.

When I can’t come up with a idea for a new story, when no matter how hard I try to wake up my brain cells, my mind stays blank, I walk out into the city. I look, listen and learn. I think of New York City as an encyclopedia. I can open it to any street, and there’s a wealth of information waiting for me. It’s a city where anything can happen.

Camilla Trinchieri Crespi lives in Greenwich Village with her husband and her computer. Besides writing she loves cooking, painting and knitting. Her twelfth novel is Seeking Alice (June 2016), written under the name Trinchieri.

Mangialibri: Verso domani, Camilla Trinchieri


Mangialibri, di Giovanni Pannacci, julio 2014

È passato un anno da quando la vita di Lenni è andata in pezzi. È stata lei, quel giorno d’agosto, a trovare la sua migliore amica Tracy galleggiare in pochi centimetri d’acqua con la testa spaccata da una pagaia. Ma quell’orribile visione sarebbe stata solo l’inizio di una serie di eventi dolorosi. Quello stesso giorno Billy, il ragazzo di Leni, si schiantò con la moto su un ponte mentre era inseguito dalla polizia: lui e Tracy avevano una relazione segreta e progettavano di scappare insieme. Secondo gli investigatori qualcosa è andato storto, forse Tracy aveva cambiato idea all’ultimo momento e Billy ha reagito con violenza. Per tutti, in ogni caso, il colpevole era lui e il caso venne considerato chiuso. Lenni, dopo aver perso il ragazzo e la migliore amica, sta provando a sopravvivere al dolore e al tradimento. Ha lasciato la tranquilla cittadina sul lago e si è trasferita a New York, dove vive facendo lavori interinali. Una notte, su Facebook, viene contattata da un certo Sam, che dice di essere il fratello Billy, da poco tornato dall’Iraq. L’uomo non crede alla colpevolezza del fratello e vuole incontrare Lenni per scoprire cosa sia realmente successo…

Come nella migliore tradizione del thriller il fatto di sangue viene presentato nella primissima pagina, ma il lettore ne avrà a disposizione altre 300 per ragionare, confrontare, scartare ipotesi, e solo i lettori più accorti – forse – riusciranno a capire prima del tempo cosa sia realmente accaduto. Camilla Trinchieri si riconferma maestra assoluta del genere, abile com’è a delineare personaggi che appaiono all’inizio torbidi e sospetti, per poi rivelarsi forti e affidabili: è il caso di Sam che – questo possiamo dirlo – finirà per conquistare il cuore di Lenni. Ma tutt’intorno, in questo romanzo fatto di tasselli che via via si ricompongono, ci sono personaggi ricchissimi di sfumature e dettagli ed è proprio nel dettaglio, si sa, che si nasconde la verità. Estremamente interessante, poi, il modo in cui la storia è stata “montata” e di certo l’esperienza nel cinema di Camilla (ha lavorato con registi come Fellini, Visconti, Wertmuller, fra gli altri) deve avere influito nella struttura del romanzo, che ha un impianto molto cinematografico, con flashback che si alterano al presente, grazie ai quali si può ricostruire il rapporto fra le due ragazze e il successivo arrivo di Billy. Una intensissima storia di amicizia femminile, di quelle che nascono durante l’adolescenza e si arricchiscono di condivisioni, confidenze e progetti futuri; ma anche una storia sulla fine dell’innocenza e sull’ipocrisia del mondo degli adulti. Imperdibile.


The webzine Libreriamo interviews Camilla Trinchieri

Camilla Trinchieri: ”Non si può vivere solo di mente. Abbiamo anche un cuore che va nutrito”

Libreriamo interviews Camilla TrinchieriRead the Italian Interview by the webzine Libreriamo – July 15, 2014

L’autrice nata a Praga e trasferitasi a New York torna in libreria con “Verso domani”, una grande storia di incontri difficili, amicizie spericolate e tenerissimi amori. Una lettura per tutte le stagioni, sull’onda di un mistero appassionante

MILANO – “Nessun uomo è un’isola”. Cita John Donne l’autrice Camille Trinchieri per sottolineare come i sentimenti, gli affetti sono capaci di definire una persona. concetto ribadito anche all’interno di “Verso domani“, terzo romanzo uscito in Italia dell’autrice nata a Praga, cresciuta in Italia e trasferita a New York. Il suo ultimo romanzo è una grande storia di incontri difficili, amicizie spericolate e tenerissimi amori. Una lettura per tutte le stagioni, sull’onda di un mistero appassionante.

Come nasce la trama del suo ultimo libro?

Ho una nipote quindicenne e una figlioccia della stessa età. Ascoltandole parlare delle loro gioie, dei loro disappunti, mi è venuta voglia di esplorare la storia di due amiche. Per me, da giovane, era importantissimo avere un’amica del cuore a cui potevo raccontare tutto, sicura che mi avrebbe sempre capito. Ed ero felice quando era lei a confidarsi con me. In due eravamo forti, invincibili. Come spiega Tracy a Lenni, ”Siamo ognuno il pezzo mancante nella vita dell’altra.”

In Verso domani ho cercato di descrivere un legame bello, intenso, indimenticabile come quello vissuto da tante ragazze quando il loro “chi sono” è ancora traballante, non definito. Ma io sono un po’ perversa. Una volta imbastita l’amicizia fra Lenni e Tracy nella mia mente, mi sono chiesta: ”E se…?” come ho fatto con i miei altri romanzi. In questo romanzo la domanda che mi sono fatta è stata: “E se, in questo idillio al lago di Lakewood, subentra un ragazzo, Billy? Cambia l’amicizia fra Lenni e Tracy? E, se cambia, come cambia?”

Per la trama ed i personaggi dei suoi libri, attinge dalla realtà e fatti di cronaca?

Quanto attingo dipende dal libro.

Il prezzo del silenzio, il primo libro uscito in Italia, nacque dalla vista di uno sguardo amoroso fra una madre e la sua bambina in un parco. La scena non esiste nel libro —servì solo da spunto— perciò direi che in questo caso l’unica realtà a cui attinsi era dalla città di New York.

Cercando Alice è ambientato a Praga, Roma e Cernobbio durante la seconda guerra mondiale  ed è intriso di realtà e cronaca. I personaggi sono basati sulla mia famiglia. Il libro parla di una madre americana sposata con un diplomatico italiano che si trova in una situazione difficilissima una volta che l’America entra in guerra. Solo lo scheletro della storia è basato sulla realtà. La carne è fiction.

Con Verso domani i fatti di cronaca sono rappresentati da Sam, un soldato con un grande peso sulle spalle. Volevo entrare nella testa di un uomo ferito dalla guerra e perseguitato dal senso di colpa. Appena tornato a casa scopre che Billy, suo fratello, non solo è morto, ma è forse un assassino. L’unica persona che può aiutarlo a capire cosa è successo è Lenni.

Uno dei temi centrali del libro è il dolore e la perdita. Come è possibile superarli e andare, appunto, “verso il domani”?

È possible solo se si è disposti ad accettare il dolore, cercare di comprenderlo, riviverlo e risoffrirlo. La cosa peggiore è nasconderlo in qualche angolo buio di noi stessi, come fanno Tom ed Emma ne Il prezzo del silenzio. Rispunta fuori di sicuro anche se non ne siamo consapevoli. Ci condiziona. Ci fa agire nel modo sbagliato. In questo ultimo romanzo Lenni scappa a New York per dimenticare il dolore e il dubbio provocato dalla morte di Billy e Tracy. Ma l’arrivo di Sam, che vuole sapere la verità sul fratello, non glielo permette. Per affontare l’accaduto lo rivive attraverso messaggi che scrive su Facebook alla amica morta.

Quale ruolo hanno i sentimenti e gli affetti nella vita di una persona?

Sono entrambi essenziali, almeno per me, anche se a volte certi miei personaggi preferirebbero che non fosse così. I sentimenti, gli affetti ci definiscono. Quattrocento anni fa il poeta inglese John Donne scrisse “nessun uomo è un’isola”. Vale ancora. Siamo nulla senza il mondo che ci circonda. Non si può vivere solo di mente. Abbiamo anche un cuore che va nutrito.

Quali sono i punti di continuità e di rottura di questo libro rispetto ai suoi precedenti?

Non credo che ci sia rottura. Cambia l’ambiente: New York, l’Europa durante la seconda guerra mondiale, un piccolo paese accanto ad un lago nel Connecticut. Cambiano i personaggi: una coppia infelice con un figlio tredicenne e una ragazza cinese. Una madre americana impaurita e una figlia che ricorda il disfacimento della sua famiglia. Due ragazze che si vogliono bene, un soldato ferito e suo fratello.

I miei temi non cambiano. I miei libri parlano di dolore, di perdite e di tanto amore. Sono tre cose  inestricabili. Purtroppo.

15 luglio 2014