This is the first monograph in English that comprehensively spans the history of the genre in Italy from the origins to the most recent writers. By taking as its point of departure the privileged relationship between the detective novel and its social setting, this book is a wide-ranging examination of the way in which Italian crime fiction has become a means to articulate the social and political changes of the country. This book concentrates in particular on famous writers, such as Augusto de Angelis (1888-1944), Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989), Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969), Loriano Macchiavelli (b. 1934), Andrea Camilleri (b. 1925), Massimo Carlotto (b. 1956),and Marcello Fois (b. 1960) thus covering the history of Italian crime fiction from its origins to the 2000s. While it is widely recognised that Italy's popular culture is in the frontline in tackling everyday problems and conflicts, crime fiction has seldom been studied in its political and social aspects. Through the analysis of writers belonging to different and crucial periods of Italy's history, this book articulates the different ways in which individual authors exploit the genre to reflect the social transformations and dysfunctions of contemporary Italy.