|About the Book|
Pitigrilli was the pseudonym for Dino Segre, (9 May 1893 - 8 May 1975), an Italian writer who made his living as a journalist and novelist. His most noted novel was Cocaïne (1921), published under his pseudonym and placed on the forbidden books list by the Catholic Church because of his treatment of drug use and sex. It has been translated into several languages and re-issued in several editions. Pitigrilli published novels up until 1974, the year before his death.He founded the literary magazine Grandi Firme, which was published in Turin from 1924 to 1938, when it was banned under the newly enacted anti-Semitic Race Laws of the Fascist government. Although baptized as a Catholic, Segre was classified as Jewish at that time. He had worked in the 1930s as an informant for OVRA, the Fascist secret service, but was dismissed in 1939 after being exposed in Paris. His father was Jewish, and Pitigrilli had married a Jewish woman (although they had long lived apart)Pitigrilli had traveled in Europe in the 1930s while maintaining his house in Turin. His efforts beginning in 1938 to change his racial status were not successful, and he was interned as a Jew in 1940, following Italys entrance into the war as an ally of Germany. He gained release from the internal exile that year, and wrote anonymously in Rome to earn money. After Mussolinis government fell in 1943 and the Germans began to occupy Italy, Pitigrilli fled to Switzerland, where his second wife (a Catholic) and their daughter joined him. They lived there until 1947, then moved to Argentina. Segre and his family returned to Europe in 1958, settling in Paris, from where they occasionally visited Turin.