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With their dark sophistication and dry humor, Andrea Camilleri's hugely popular Sicilian crime novels continue to win more and more fans in America. The day after a storm, Inspector Montalbano encounters a strange woman who expresses interest in a ...
With their dark sophistication and dry humor, Andrea Camilleri's hugely popular Sicilian crime novels continue to win more and more fans in America. The day after a storm, Inspector Montalbano encounters a strange woman who expresses interest in a certain yacht scheduled to dock that afternoon. Not long after she's gone, the yacht's crew reports finding a disfigured corpse. Also at anchor is a luxury vessel with a somewhat shady crew. Both boats will have to stay in Vigàta until the investigation is over and, based on information from the woman, Montalbano begins to think the occupants of the yacht might know more about the man's death than they're letting on.
“Montalbano is a delightful creation, an honest man on Sicily’s mean streets.”
“This series is distinguished by Camilleri’s remarkable feel for tragicomedy, expertly mixing light and dark in the course of producing novels that are both comforting and disturbing.”
“Camilleri can do a character’s whole backstory in half a paragraph.”
“Hailing from the land of Umberto Eco and La Cosa Nostra, Montalbano can discuss a pointy-headed book like Western Attitudes Towards Death as unflinchingly as he can pore over crime-scene snuff photos. He throws together an extemporaneous lunch…as gracefully as he dodges advances from attractive women.”
“Camilleri as crafty and charming a writer as his protagonist is an investigator.”
Praise for Andrea Camilleri:
“There’s a deliciously playful quality to the mysteries Andrea Camilleri writes about a lusty Sicilian police detective named Salvo Montalbano.”
“The books are full of sharp, precise characterizations and with subplots that make Montalbano endearingly human… Like the antipasti that Montalbano contentedly consumes, the stories are light and easily consumed, leaving one eager for the next course.”
Posted December 21, 2012
The books in the Inspector Montalbano series usually are lighthearted stories about the Sicilian detective combined with a mystery for him to solve. However, while in this novel he does have a mystery to solve, this entry reflects more of his introspection. The contrasts are intriguing, to say the least. It begins when the Inspector rescues a bespectacled, rather mousy woman whose car is about to be swallowed into a chasm, or sinkhole, created in a collapsed road. She tells him she’s the niece of a rich widow whose yacht is about to enter port.
When the boat does enter the port, it brings with it a corpse and a dinghy retrieved at the mouth of the harbor. The victim’s face was smashed, and the fingerprints are not on file, making identification extremely difficult. The yacht docks alongside a luxury craft, whose crew appears suspicious. This leads Montalbano on a convoluted investigation based on information - - or misinformation - - the woman has given him
As usual, the Inspector’s lusty appetite is exhibited, with descriptions of lunches and dinners at his favorite restaurant, or dishes left for him to heat in the oven by his housekeeper. Perhaps more poignant is a side story about the 58-year-old Inspector’s possible love interest, a beautiful young woman Coast Guard lieutenant he meets during the investigation. It makes him even more human as a character, lightening what would otherwise be a heavy murder mystery.
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