Mark Lawson continues his series about the way crime fiction has depicted modern European history - looking at the shifts in UK society charted by PD James and Ruth Rendell - from rural racism and road rage to fears about changes in the Church of England. Their male inspectors Dalgliesh and Wexford were followed by DCI Jane Tennison in Lynda La Plante's Prime Suspect - a TV series which mirrored real police employment practices and which spawned female leads from Val McDermid's Carol Jordan to The Killing's Sarah Lund.
The surrealist influenced novels of Montalban and his Barcelona gourmet PI Pepe Carvalho are discussed by Antonio Hill and Jason Webster. They explore the impact of setting novels in the Catholic country of Spain where post Franco, the transition to democracy and the role of the monarchy provide a rich contemporary history.
In Italy an engagement with modern politics involves grappling with the influence of the Mafia - a plotline which you find in the novels of both Andrea Camilleri and his predecessor Leonardo Sciascia. Mark Lawson travels to Rome to meet the creator of the Sicilian Inspector Montalbano.
Producer: Robyn Read.