Involuntary Witness, By Gianrico Carofiglio

Recent events in Italy have made a compelling case for the return of this bestselling police procedural by a master of the form. Now a Senator in Rome, Gianrico Carofiglio used to prosecute mobsters in Bari.

In fiction, however, he lends his inside-out knowledge of the courts and the law to a defence-attorney hero: the battered but upright Guido Guerreri.

Here (in Patrick Creagh's involving translation) the dumped and downbeat Guido takes on a seemingly hopeless cause: a Senegalese sea-front hawker accused of murdering a little local boy. Few crime novels probe "institutional racism" as subtly, and enjoyably, as this one.