100 books like I Will Have Vengeance

By Maurizio de Giovanni, Anne Milano Appel (translator),

Here are 100 books that I Will Have Vengeance fans have personally recommended if you like I Will Have Vengeance. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Death at La Fenice

Mark Frutkin Author Of The Artist and the Assassin

From my list on historical fiction and mysteries set in Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had a strong, long-lived interest in all things Italian (including Italian food and wine). I spent my third year of university at a campus in Rome and travelled all over Italy during my year there. I’ve been back to Italy as a tourist and researcher numerous times, as five of my ten award-winning novels are set there (in Venice, Rome, Cremona, etc.). I have many Italian friends and my most recent novel, The Artist and the Assassin, is being translated into Italian and will be published by Les Flaneurs Edizioni, an Italian publisher in Bari, Italy. 

Mark's book list on historical fiction and mysteries set in Italy

Mark Frutkin Why did Mark love this book?

I recommend this book because Donna Leon takes us inside the fascinating world of Venice. Her fictional detective, Guido Brunetti, is not only brilliant at solving crime (in her many Venetian novels) but has a delightful family (wife and two teenage children). La Fenice is the famous opera house of Venice, so we get to go backstage there as well as backstage in the city of Venice.

By Donna Leon,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Death at La Fenice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A splendid series . . . with a backdrop of the city so vivid you can almost smell it.' The Sunday Telegraph

Winner of the Suntory Mystery Fiction Grand Prize
__________________________________

The twisted maze of Venice's canals has always been shrouded in mystery. Even the celebrated opera house, La Fenice, has seen its share of death ... but none so horrific and violent as that of world-famous conductor, Maestro Helmut Wellauer, who was poisoned during a performance of La Traviata. Even Commissario of Police, Guido Brunetti, used to the labyrinthine corruptions of the city, is shocked at the number of…


Book cover of The Shape of Water

Anika Scott Author Of Sinners of Starlight City

From my list on sparking an obsession with Sicily.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a traveler and a dreamer ever since I was a little girl. I used to write to the tourism bureaus of different countries and tape pictures of faraway places onto the walls of my bedroom. It’s no surprise I ended up living in Europe, my home base for excursions all over the world. My historical fiction always features places that mean a lot to me, whether it’s Germany (where I live now), or Sicily – where my mother’s family came from. Digging into my Sicilian heritage and the culture and life of the island for my third novel was like discovering a new home.

Anika's book list on sparking an obsession with Sicily

Anika Scott Why did Anika love this book?

I have very romantic notions of Sicily, and I look to the Inspector Montalbano series of detective novels to show me the grit and corruption that Sicily is actually known for.

This is the first novel in the series and introduces Montalbano as an honest cop in a dishonest world, a Sicilian town where everyone hustles for work and murders are common. Even if everybody is corrupt in their own ways, they’re still very human, and Montalbano’s tolerance of human failings makes him one of the great detectives to read. 

By Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Shape of Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Shape of Water is the first in Andrea Camilleri's wry, brilliantly compelling Sicilian crime series, featuring Inspector Montalbano. This edition with a stunning redesigned cover.

The goats of Vigata once grazed on the trash-strewn site still known as the Pasture. Now local enterprise of a different sort flourishes: drug dealers and prostitutes of every flavour. But their discreet trade is upset when two employees of the Splendour Refuse Collection Company discover the body of engineer Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, apparently deceased in flagrante at the Pasture. The coroner's verdict is death from natural causes…


Book cover of Death of an Englishman

Margo Sorenson Author Of Secrets in Translation

From my list on to take you to enchanting Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my first seven years in Spain and Italy, devouring books and Italian food and still speak (or try!) my childhood languages. The Italian language and culture are precious to me—an integral part of my life. Our visits back to Italy, speaking Italian with friends, cooking Italian meals, writing for the Italian Language Foundation's website, and enjoying our community's Italian movie nights maintain my Italian experience. Sadly, I can't be in Italy all the time, but have found some fabulous books that take me right back! Il cuore e italiano—my heart is Italian.

Margo's book list on to take you to enchanting Italy

Margo Sorenson Why did Margo love this book?

This delightful mystery set in Florence not only intrigues the reader with its clever, twist-filled plot but also with its insights into daily life and culture in Italy. The characters are enjoyable and show many humorous and unique facts of Italian life. Nabb knows her Florence and her Italians, and her ability to describe both make a reader wish to accompany her on her next trip!

By Magdalen Nabb,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Death of an Englishman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia of the Florentine carabinieri, a Sicilian stationed far from home. He wants to go south for Christmas to spend the holiday with his family, but he is laid up with the 'flu. At this awkward moment, the death of a retired Englishman is reported. A most inconvenient time for a murder case. Who has shot Mr Langley-Smythe in the back? And why has Scotland Yard felt it appropriate to send two detectives, one of whom speaks no Italian, to 'help' the marshal and his colleagues with their investigation? Most importantly for the marshal, ever the Italian,…


Book cover of A Season for the Dead

Joseph D'Agnese Author Of The Marshal of the Borgo

From my list on discovering Italian mystery novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, Joseph D’Agnese did not feel quite normal unless he’d devoured at least two mystery novels in a weekend. Today he’s a journalist and author. His mystery fiction has appeared in Shotgun Honey, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulp, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He’s a past recipient of the Derringer Award for Short Mystery Fiction, and a contributor to the prestigious annual anthology, Best American Mystery Stories. D’Agnese lives in North Carolina with his wife, the New York Times Bestselling author Denise Kiernan.

Joseph's book list on discovering Italian mystery novels

Joseph D'Agnese Why did Joseph love this book?

If you diligently work your way down this list, you’ll travel to Sicily, Venice, Florence, and Naples. But none of these cities beat Rome. I’m biased, of course. My wife and I lived in Rome when we were first married. When I close my eyes, I swear I see Caravaggios and I can still smell the woodsmoke and simmering pasta sauce that perfume Rome’s air. All of which brings me to Hewson’s Nic Costa novels. I don’t think anyone nails Rome’s sinister criminal quality the way Hewson does, but he still manages to capture the Eternal City’s beauty, food, and art. (Hewson’s a Brit who travels to Italy often; it's totally worth checking out his Instagram account.) Currently 10 books in the series. If you like them, investigate his standalone novels, some of which are also set in Italy.

By David Hewson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Season for the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE FIRST IN THE ACCLAIMED NIC COSTA SERIES

'No author has ever brought Rome so alive for me - nor made it seem so sinister' PETER JAMES

'David Hewson's Rome is dark and tantalizing, seductive and dangerous, a place where present-day crimes ring with the echoes of history' TESS GERRITSEN

'Hewson keeps the reader guessing . . . relentlessly tightening the suspense until the end' Daily Telegraph

There's no rest for the wicked . . .

While Rome is sweltering in the height of summer, a serial killer is on the loose. Sara Farnese is working in the Vatican library,…


Book cover of The Neapolitan Novels Boxed Set

Susan Van Allen Author Of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go

From my list on women who love Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am grateful to my maternal grandparents, immigrants from southern Italy, who instilled in me a love for the Bel Paese that has inspired me all my life. I began to travel to Italy 45 years ago, and after writing for television—on the staff of Everybody Loves Raymond—I turned to travel writing. I’ve written 4 books about Italian travel, along with many stories for magazines. I also design and host Golden Weeks in Italy: For Women Only tours, to give female travelers an insider’s experience of this extraordinary country.

Susan's book list on women who love Italy

Susan Van Allen Why did Susan love this book?

I have always loved visiting the city of Naples – for the great food, the rich history, and the warm locals who remind me of my southern Italian relatives. Ferrante’s novels go deep into the complexities of a female friendship that spans many decades, while also bringing to life a wide range of characters who I grew to love and truly care about, while devouring this extraordinary series.

By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Neapolitan Novels Boxed Set as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The complete four-volume boxed set of the New York Times–bestselling epic about hardship and female friendship in postwar Naples that has sold over five million copies.

Beginning with My Brilliant Friend, the four Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante follow Elena and Lila, from their rough-edged upbringing in Naples, Italy, not long after WWII, through the many stages of their lives―and along paths that diverge wildly. Sometimes they are separated by jealousy or hostility or physical distance, but the bond between them is unbreakable, for better or for worse.

This volume includes all four novels: My Brilliant Friend; The Story of…


Book cover of The Poison Keeper: An enthralling historical novel of Renaissance Italy

J. C. Briggs Author Of Summons to Murder

From my list on featuring historical figures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the novels of Charles Dickens and when I found out that he did go out with the London Police to research the criminal underworld for his magazine, I thought what a good detective he would make. He has all the talents a detective needs: remarkable powers of observation, a shrewd understanding of human nature and of motive, and the ability to mix with all ranks of Victorian society from the street urchin to the lord and lady. I love Victorian London, too, and creating the foggy, gas-lit alleys we all know from Dickens the novelist.

J. C.'s book list on featuring historical figures

J. C. Briggs Why did J. C. love this book?

Another woman steps out of the shadows of history in this novel about seventeenth-century Italy. Gulia Tofana was a notorious poisoner of terrible men and Deborah Swift explores in a tale full of excitement and drama the imagined early career of Gulia whose mother was executed for murder. Gulia just wants to be an apothecary, but her friendship with the abused wife of an aristocratic, power greedy husband draws her into murder. It is full of rich detail – you can feel the heat, smell the perfume, hear the rustle of silk and taffeta, and you can’t help being on the side of the women trapped in a corrupt and violent world.

By Deborah Swift,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Poison Keeper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Naples 1633

Aqua Tofana – One drop to heal. Three drops to kill.

Giulia Tofana longs for more responsibility in her mother’s apothecary business, but Mamma has always been secretive and refuses to tell her the hidden keys to her success. But the day Mamma is arrested for the poisoning of the powerful Duke de Verdi, Giulia is shocked to uncover the darker side of her trade.

Giulia must run for her life, and escapes to Naples, under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, to the home of her Aunt Isabetta, a famous courtesan. But when Giulia hears that her mother…


Book cover of My Brilliant Friend

Mirinae Lee Author Of 8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster

From my list on villainous heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and grew up in Seoul. My bestselling debut novel has been longlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2024 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize and shortlisted for the 2024 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. My book is inspired by my great-aunt, one of the oldest women who had escaped alone from North Korea. It is available from Harper Perennial in the U.S. and Virago in the UK. The novel’s translations continue to meet readers worldwide, including in Italy, Romania, Greece, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, and South Korea.

Mirinae's book list on villainous heroines

Mirinae Lee Why did Mirinae love this book?

Like Zenia, Lila, the crafty protagonist of this book, is a born charmer. With her wicked intelligence and unique beauty, she turns heads and stirs controversy wherever she goes, attracting admirers and haters.

She is unafraid of fighting men’s violence with violence–she carries a shoemaker’s knife to deter the unwanted advances of suitors–and she is not hesitant to describe herself as mean.

Elena, Lila’s best friend and the novel’s narrator, comes in second after Lila in many things in life, including academic excellence and boys’ attention, and often suffers caught between love and jealousy toward Lila. 

By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (translator),

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked My Brilliant Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OVER 5 MILLION COPIES SOLD IN ENGLISH WORLDWIDE

OVER 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD IN THE UK

OVER 14 MILLION COPIES OF THE NEAPOLITAN QUARTET SOLD WORLDWIDE

NOW A MAJOR TV SERIES

GUARDIAN 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY

58 WEEKS ON THE BOOKSELLER'S TOP 20 ORIGINAL FICTION BESTSELLERS LIST

SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2015

43 INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS DEALS

Now in B-format Paperback

From one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, comes this ravishing and generous-hearted novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The story of Elena and Lila begins in the 1950s in a poor but…


Book cover of The Story of a New Name

Terry A. Repak Author Of Circling Home: What I Learned by Living Elsewhere

From my list on writers struggling to find their place in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

My memoir, Circling Home: What I Learned by Living Elsewhere, details my own trajectory in trying to find my voice and métier as a writer. I’ve kept a journal since I was a teenager, trained to be a journalist in college, and worked as an investigative reporter on a newspaper column and a news show in my twenties. When my husband and I moved abroad, I got a book contract for my PhD thesis and also published my research in academic journals. I wrote travel articles and profiles of people I met while living in East and West Africa. Working with a writing group of friends, I finished two novels before embarking on my memoir.

Terry's book list on writers struggling to find their place in the world

Terry A. Repak Why did Terry love this book?

The second of Ferrante’s four Neopolitan Novels is a gripping portrayal of the hardships faced by women who grew up in Italy in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The novel is packed with romantic liaisons, incidences of family violence, and the many hurdles that Italian women had to face in forging careers independent of their families. The detailed rendering of a complicated friendship between two women who disappointed each other at times shows how hard women in working-class Naples had to struggle to find their paths.

Being from a big family myself and facing many hurdles before finding my voice, I could relate to the characters in this book and Ferrante’s subsequent novel, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay Behind.

By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Story of a New Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OVER 14M OF THE NEAPOLITAN QUARTET SOLD WORLDWIDE

The Story of a New Name, the second book of the Neapolitan Quartet, picks up the story where My Brilliant Friend left off.


Lila has recently married and made her entree into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighbourhood that she so often finds stifling. Love, jealousy, family, freedom, commitment, and above all friendship: these are signs under which both women live out this phase in their stories. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times…


Book cover of Naples '44: A World War II Diary of Occupied Italy

Andy Owen Author Of Land of the Blind

From my list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

War is perhaps the most extreme human activity. I have seen firsthand some of these extremes in Iraq and Afghanistan. I now write about the philosophy and ethics of war and geopolitics, exploring some of the impacts and enduring truths that war and its conduct tell us about ourselves that might be hidden under the surface of our everyday lives. The books I have chosen here explore, with elegance, sensitivity, and sometimes brutal and unflinching honesty, what the battlefield exposes, showing us that there is both tragedy and comedy at the extremities of human nature, and without one, you cannot really truly appreciate the other.

Andy's book list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war

Andy Owen Why did Andy love this book?

Out of all the war fiction and nonfiction I have read, this is the one book I wish I had read before deploying to Iraq as a soldier.

Lewis captures the post-invasion chaos, as the war-fighting military struggles to define its new mission as an occupying force, the farcical situations that arise through deep cultural misunderstandings between occupier and occupied, and the suffering and resourcefulness of the local population.

He is also an elegant writer who, like many of the best war writers, finds humour and intense tragedy in the extremes between the absurd and the sublime he encounters.

By Norman Lewis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Naples '44 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a young intelligence officer stationed in Naples following its liberation from Nazi forces, Norman Lewis recorded the lives of a proud and vibrant people forced to survive on prostitution, thievery, and a desperate belief in miracles and cures. The most popular of Lewis's twenty-seven books, Naples'44 is a landmark poetic study of the agony of wartime occupation and its ability to bring out the worst, and often the best, in human nature. In prose both heartrending and comic, Lewis describes an era of disillusionment, escapism, and hysteria in which the Allied occupiers mete out justice unfairly and fail to…


Book cover of Cosi Fan Tutti

Ash Bishop Author Of The Horoscope Writer

From my list on mysteries where the detective is in way over their head.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing a mystery novel is no small task. You have to craft a clever plot, stay true to your characters, and bewilder, but ultimately satisfy, your readers, all the while not mixing up your theirs and your there’s. Maybe that’s why we writers like to saddle our heroes with even heavier burdens, forcing them to sort through complex webs of deceit, and fight against deeply rooted cultures full of corruption. When they win, we share their victories… even more so because it means we’ve finished writing the darn book! Enjoy this list of detectives facing long odds, and let it inspire you in whatever creative endeavors are closest to your heart.    

Ash's book list on mysteries where the detective is in way over their head

Ash Bishop Why did Ash love this book?

I love when authors mix genres. Dibdin’s Cosi Fan Tutti is a combination of mystery and a Mozart opera! 

Combining the farcical elements of corruption, romantic longing, and mistaken identity, Dibdin pulls us through the beautiful streets of Naples, Italy, where everyone is thoughtful and earnest, and still, somehow, nothing like they appear. 

His detective Aurelio Zen is supposed to be keeping the peace, but he’s not up for the job, much more interested in untying romantic entanglements and enjoying the countryside. A solid plan until the Italian sanitation department decides they’re going to clean up the streets for him.

Lighthearted and breezy but with a genuine emotional core, you’ll get through Cosi Fan Tutte in a single sitting and be happier for it. 

By Michael Dibdin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cosi Fan Tutti as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At this point there is a welcome touch of comedy as the man's feet appear above the tail-gate of the garbage truck. Clad in highly polished brogues and red-and-black chequered socks below which a length of bare white leg is just visible, they proceed to execute a furious little dance, jerking this way and that like puppets at a Punch and Judy show - possibly a knowing allusion to the commedia dell'arte, which of course originated in this city.

Inspector Zen has been posted to Naples in disgrace, where he is asked to oversee the clean-up of the city's corrupt…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Naples Italy, Italy, and fascism?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Naples Italy, Italy, and fascism.

Naples Italy Explore 19 books about Naples Italy
Italy Explore 391 books about Italy
Fascism Explore 70 books about fascism