Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The detective novels of Jean-François Parot

Jean-François Parot, French Ambassador in Guinea-Bissau, has recently published his 8th detective novel: “Le Noyé du Grand Canal”. Set in the second half of the 18th century, the series written by Parot follows the adventures of Nicolas Le Floch, policeman and aristocrat, the illegitimate son of the Marquis de Ranreuil. When the cycle of novels begins in 1761, he is working with the (real) Antoine de Sartine, Lieutenant General de Police of Paris, and promoted to Commissaire of the Châtelet. Each novel, painstakingly researched, frames the central intrigue within a carefully reconstructed historical setting. Particular attention is granted to linguistic accuracy and period detail and loving care is lavished on the Ancient Régime gastronomic landscape. As each case is linked to real political events, the protagonist, assisted by the Commissaire Bourdeau and flanked by an entertaining gallery of secondary characters, is witness to the stormy events leading to the Revolution.

Nicolas Le Floch – éditions Jean-Claude Lattès – Série Grands Détectives 10/18:
L’Enigme des Blancs-Manteaux (2001), L’Homme au ventre de plomb (2001), Le Fantôme de la Rue Royale (2002), L’Affaire Nicolas Le Floch (2003), Le Crime de l’Hôtel Saint-Florentin (2005), Le Sang des farines (2006), Le Cadavre anglais (2008), Le Noyé du Grand Canal (2009), L’Honneur de Sartine (expected Autumn 2010)

Jean-François Parot was born in 1946 and graduated in history and anthropology. He is a specialist of the 18th century. He was Vice-Consul in Kinshasa in 1974, Consul General in Saigon and Athens, Counsellor in Doha, Khartoum, Djibouti, Ouagadougou, Sofia and Minister in Tunis. He acted as adviser to the Minister for Industry and was named Associate Director of the Directorate for Military Cooperation and Defence in 2002. He is Ambassador in Guinea-Bissau since 2006.
His works have been translated into Italian, Spanish, English and Russian. They are the subject of a television adaptation on France 2 by Hugues Pagan with actor Jérôme Robart in the leading role of Commissaire Le Floch. (http://programmes.france2.fr/nicolas-le-floch/).

(by Clementina Osti)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Murder in the Tower of Happiness, a novel by Egyptian Diplomat Tawfik

The latest novel by Mohamed Tawfik, who was until recently Egyptian ambassador to Australia, has recently appeared in English translation.
Following is a short excerpt:
"When the first armchair smashed into the asphalt, Sergeant Ashmouni was at his usual spot on the median of the Nile Corniche, trapped by the road’s twin currents turbulently flowing forth to Maadi and back to Old Cairo. He was wiping the sweat away from his eyes with his worn out sleeve-and in the process adding a new stain to his white traffic-police uniform-when surprise from the thunderous impact catapulted him into the fast lane of the side of the road closest to the Nile."

Thus opens this fast-paced city thriller laced with dry humor that takes us inside Borg al-Saada-’Tower of Happiness,’ one of the luxury high-rises planted like alien bodies amid the fields along the Nile south of Cairo-and inside the sordid lives and lavish lifestyles of its super-rich and famous denizens. The naked, strangled body of Ahlam, a beautiful young actress, is discovered in one of the elevators, and as the police investigation gets under way, we meet many of the tower’s strange characters: the owner’s agent, Kasib Bey, overweight, toupeed, and decked in gold chains; wealthy contractor Abd al-Tawab Mabruk Basha (Tutu Basha to his friends), insomniac since Ahlam’s murder; Abd al-Malak, a psychic with a Ph.D. in genetic engineering from MIT; Farah, his erstwhile sweetheart, who has become one of the very candy dolls she used to scorn; belly-dancer Lula Hamdi, who would be able to see Timbuktu if she stood on top of a pile of all her money; Madame Esmeralda, the society lady from Chile; and the homely Dr. Mahgub, somewhat less well off than his neighbors. And of course there is Antar-the naughty boy-who roams the tower, enters apartments, and overhears conversations, unsettling and exposing the decadent occupants and their relationships.

Until 2008 Mohamed M. Tawfik served as Egyptian Ambassador to Australia and non-resident Ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Marshall Islands.
He has published in Arabic three volumes of short stories, The White
Butterflies, Till the Break of Dawn and Agamyste. An English translation of
selected stories from all three volumes was published in Egypt in 1997
entitled The Day the Moon Fell. He is, perhaps, best known for his two
novels; A Night in the Life of Abdel-Tawab Tutu, and A Naughty Boy Called
Antar. Together, the two novels form an epic work that follows Egypt’s
political and social evolution across the twentieth century. Translated into
English by the author, A Naughty Boy Called Antar was published by the
American University in Cairo Press in December 2008 with the title Murder in
the Tower of Happiness.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

"Du caviar dans les fraises", roman du diplomate français Bruno Clerc

Bruno Clerc, diplomate de carrière français, vient de publier un livre intitulé "Du caviar dans les fraises", de façon d'un roman d'espionnage.
Ce livre, qui s'inspire de la connaissance que l'auteur a acquise lors de ses séjours à Rome, se situe au cœur du monde diplomatique et ecclésiastique romain quelques années après l'effondrement du communisme. Un certain esprit humoristique semble se mêler au caractère fantasque des personnages, notamment du héros, Archibald, ancien diplomate sud-africain et calviniste, devenu catholique, prêtre et français, musicien et aquarelliste.
Depuis la Renaissance, les gardes suisses portent une fraise autour du cou. Quoique très inconfortable, cette collerette de dentelle empesée a traversé les siècles. Peu après la chute du mur de Berlin, on imagine l'effroi des plus hautes autorités de la Sainte Église catholique, apostolique et romaine, en découvrant que ces fraises-là pourraient avoir été assaisonnées d'un peu de caviar par les services secrets russes.

Bruno Clerc, Du Caviar Dans les Fraises, Benevent, Paris, 2009, 290 p. (Euro 20,50)

Bruno Clerc est né en 1958 et a commencé sa carrière diplomatique en 1979. Pendant les premières années, il est attaché d'ambassade en Italie et attaché culturel à Vancouver. Ensuite il choisit de revenir à Rome et entrer au séminaire: il étudie au séminaire français et suit des études de philosophie et de théologie à l'université pontificale grégorienne. Après deux ans, en 1984, il réintègre le ministère des Affaires étrangères à Paris. En 1991, il part au Kenya, devenant représentant permanent adjoint de la France auprès des Nations Unies à Nairobi. En 1994, il est nommé à Genève, à la Mission permanente de la France auprès des Nations Unies. Après un nouveau séjour à Paris, il est nommé Consul de France au Cap en 2001, puis Premier conseiller d'ambassade à Budapest en 2005. Depuis août 2008, Bruno Clerc est de retour à Paris.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Between terrorism and global governance" by Roberto Toscano

Roberto Toscano, the Italian Ambassador in New Delhi, has just published a thought-provoking book titled "Between terrorism and global governance : essays on ethics, violence and international law".

Here is a short excerpt from the preface of the book:

"The first chapters of this book revisit, through essays devoted to thinkers in the field of poolitical philosophy (from Machiavelli to Huntington), the tension between ethics and politics, trying to suggest that ethics is intrinsically tied to politics, and that moral awareness and realism are not in contradiction insofar as we move beyond individual ethics and address the issue of responsibility toward society and especially the rights and interests of others.
The second main focus of this book is terrorism, the vile and despicable form of conflict that targets innocent civilians.Both for terrorism and for other transnational threats and crises, from the present downturn to global warming, the nation-state, though still primarily responsible, cannot conceivably be adequate to the task.
This is why ethics and realist politics point in the same
direction: that of the need to recognize duties toward those who are not our fellow citiziens as well as limitation to a sovereignty that, while legitimate, cannot be used against both legal and moral norms."

Roberto Toscano. Between terrorism and global governance:
essays on ethics, violence and international law, Har-Anand Publications, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 112, USD 11.20 (Rs 250)

The book is available at the online bookstore http://www.dkagencies.com/

Roberto Toscano is the Italian Ambassador in New Delhi and previously was Ambassador in Teheran. In the diplomatic carreer since 1969, he directed for several years the activities of the Policy Planning unit of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He published several essays on the topics of human rights and of the ethics of international relationships. He taught International Relationships at LUISS University in Rome.
A complete list of his publications is available at http://www.robertotoscano.org

Stefano Baldi

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lorenzo Angeloni and the novel "In Darfur"

The novel, inspired to the humanitarian emergency in Darfur, portrays the story of Giorgio Respighi, a United Nations civil servant. Sent in mission to Khartoum, as peacekeeping expert, he works to analyze the tragic humanitarian situation in the Western region of Sudan. Witnessing the harsh local conditions and the helplessness of the international community, Respighi will be exposed to an unprecedented bildung, leading him to take extraordinary and grave decisions. The war emerges as the background of the novel, in its double nature of the crude reality of the developing world, as well as the object of the progressive political thought aiming at its eradication.

Lorenzo Angeloni, born in Perugia in 1958, is an Italian diplomat who served as Ambassador of Italy in Khartoum, Sudan, from 2003 to 2007. The book supports, through its purchase, the hospital “Salaam Centre” managed by the NGO Emergency.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Book on the Italian Embassy in the Hague by Gaetano Cortese

Gaetano Cortese, former Ambassador of Italy to the Netherlands, has published an illustrated book titled “The Embassy of Italy in the Hague (1907-2007)” dedicated to the historical Palace that hosts the Residence of the Italian Ambassador in the Hague. The book, which is available both in Italian and in Dutch, describes the history and main events of the Residence in the last century. The Book is filled with historical photos and prints that illustrate not only the beautiful building, but also the excellent relationship between Italy and the Netherlands which dates back to 1859.

Gaetano Cortese is also the author of another illustrated book on the Italian Embassy in Brussels, published in 2000 when he was Ambassador of Italy to Belgium.

Gaetano Cortese, L’Ambasciata d’Italia a l’Aia, Stabilimenti Tipografici Carlo Colombo, Roma, 2009. pp. 255. (Italian version)

De Ambassade van Italië in Den Haag (Dutch Version)

Monday, March 23, 2009

India in the XXI century

Italian former Ambassador in New Delhi analizes nowadays India with a look to its past but mainly focusing on the future perspective of the country. Colonial legacy, political equilibria, contrast between countryside and cities, the role of political parties and media and inter religious relations are all topics examined by Ambassador Armellini who served in India from 2004 to 2008.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

18 Ambassadress in Brussels

The «Association Femmes d’Europe» in Brussels has published a book titled book "18 Ambassadrices vous reçoivent à Bruxelles".
In this book eighteen Ambassadress in Brussels virtually open the doors to their residences and share some unusual anecdotes about the history of these exceptional buildings. They reveal the intimacy of the Embassies and talk about their lives as wives of diplomats. From the Gala dinner to the informal luncheon with friends, the Ambassadress take the reader by the hand through the backstage of their receptions: décor, tables, menus and details on their personal recipes from around the world.
The volume presents eighteen of the most prestigious Embassies in Brussels such as France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Unites States, Indonesia, Spain, Korea, Monaco and many others. It is fully illustrated with insight pictures by Eric Stinglhamber,
Of the 5 000 copies printed, more than 3 000 were sold on a subscription basis prior to publication. This project, like all other projects of the non-profit organization, is aimed at raising funds for those in need in Europe and the Third World.

Bibliographic Reference:
Association Femmes d’Europe, 18 Ambassadrices vous reçoivent à Bruxelles, Editions Laconti, Bruxelles, 2008, pp. 190 (ISBN 9782870080412)