Pitigrilli’s brilliant novel Cocaine gets a starred review from Library Journal:
First published in 1921, this novel, banned by church authorities, traces the adult life of young Tito Arnaudi, who, owing to boredom with university studies and other occupations, turns to journalism. When The Fleeting Moment newspaper commissions a story about cocaine, which is heavily used by the fashionable society people in Paris, Tito tries it and becomes addicted. Two women occupy his time—a beautiful Armenian named Kalantan, recently widowed and very wealthy; and Maud, an Italian girl he has known for many years who is a prostitute and a dancer. After a few capricious situations, Tito gets fired from the newspaper and drifts from one woman to the other. VERDICT The author Dino Segre, known as Pitigrilli, has brilliantly written a cynical novel with a good dose of black humor. Through Tito’s eyes, we see postwar Europe with its poisonous climate and negative energy; Tito reaches the conclusion that the constants in life are nothing but sex, power, greed, and adultery. Mosbacher has done an excellent job with the translation, and the afterword by Alexander Stille is enlightening.