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Years ago, I was in Rome at a seminar dedicated to crime novels. At that seminar, some lady held a whole speech about the huge importance of the “non-lieu”, the “not-place” in crime novels. Not-places are places which do exist but are never taken or occupied by someone. That’s to say, places which you will pass or even stands in for a while but in which you would never stay or install yourself for a long time. Train stations or airports or the lobby of a hotel are good examples of this kind of crossing points. Places which are owned by everyone but at the same time also be no one. This lady told her crime novel loving audience that no crime novel could exist without some non-place playing a crucial part in it. If the non-place wasn’t used as the ideal location for the murder itself, it would at least serve as a meeting point for shady characters to exchange information or for the victim to leave a precious indication on who would have killed him. Thinking back of that interesting afternoon in Rome, I walked today to the Central Station of Milan. My guide book described the building as “definitely worth a visit” and I have to say that I agree. Gorgeous statues, hall ways, stair cases, galeries and mosaics turned la Stazione Centrale definitely into the most beautiful way to enter Milan (right from a train that is). For one hour, I couldn’t stop myself taking one picture after the other until some very brawny looking security people started to give me a real dirty look. When I got one of them asking me in a sharp-toned way what I was actually doing, I found myself answering before I knew it that I was examining this non-lieu to find some clues to the solution of my next Milanese crime novel. Since my answer didn’t sound very credible (or at least comprehensible), I took advantage of the perplexed reaction of the security guy to abscond from the Station. I had collected enough information anyways to know who would soon kill him in “Murder on the Milano Express...”!