Izzo published his first novel at the age of 50 in 1995. TOTAL CHAOS – part of the Marseilles trilogy, which is published for the first time in the UK this month – helped define the crime sub-genre now known as Mediterranean noir. Izzo died just five years later. He began writing travel pieces for newspapers in the 1970s and this evocative new collection of essays – which sadly are undated – is a paean to the life, cities and food of the Mediterranean, particularly his home, Marseilles: "Wherever you are from, you feel at home in Marseilles." The world is full of beautiful cities, but Marseilles has an inner beauty: "her humanity". A former communist and the "son of an exile" (he had an Italian mother and a Spanish father), he writes passionately about the city's "hospitality, tolerance, respect for others". He writes with equal passion about the "poor man's cuisine": "When I eat, I like to feel Marseilles pulsating beneath my tongue." Writing crime fiction, says Izzo, is not a form of activism, but "a way of conveying my doubts, my anxieties, my joys, my pleasures". His essays, too, reveal a man of deep feeling and humanity.