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Posts Tagged ‘Sicily’

This is the 8th book in the charming Inspector Montalbano series, and it has a slight change of pace to those which came before it.

The story starts with the Inspector recovering from a gunshot wound sustained in the course of duty. His girlfriend Livia has come to stay with him during his convalescence, and he knows that he should be resting. But when he is told of the kidnapping of a local teenage girl, he finds himself getting involved in the case.  Susanna Mistretta has been taken and a ransom is demanded – but the family are in no position to pay. When he delves deeper into the matter, Montalbano uncovers secrets and mysteries which he needs to unravel if he has a hope of finding the kidnapped girl before something terrible happens to her.

This tale finds Montalbano in a more contemplative mood than in the earlier stories. Having been badly injured, he is reminded sharply of his own mortality and of how the years are catching up with him. There is a much larger focus on the relationship between him and Livia than there previously has been, and there is less humour than before. However, Catarella, Montalbano’s hapless Sergeant is still on hand to provide light relief and (very) occasional surprising insights.

I did guess the ending of the book quite early on, which I have never done in any of the previous books in the series. There was certainly a lot less to disentangle in this mystery than in the others, but a lot of focus is given to Montalbano’s resistance against his advancing years, which constantly reminds him that whereas friends and colleagues are settling down and having families, he is still as solitary as ever (despite his relationship with Livia, which is often tempestuous). Overall then, this is probably the weakest book in the series so far, but it’s still worth reading, and a worthy addition to the series.

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In this seventh book in the Inspector Montalbano series, the Sicilian Inspector has become disillusioned with his job, and suspicious of the ethics of those he works for.  He is worried that he is past his best, and seriously considers resigning.  So his mood is not improved when he is out for an early morning swim one day, and suddenly finds himself sharing the sea with the corpse of a man who has clearly been dead for some time.  Trying to discover the identity of the deceased proves an arduous task.

Montalbano also finds himself getting involved in the plight of a young immigrant boy, which leads him into the murky world of illegal immigrant trafficking, and putting his plans for resignation on hold.

As in the previous books in this extremely entertaining series, the Salvo Montalbano is grumpy, sarcastic and sometimes just plain rude, but still manages to endear himself to the reader, with his strong morals and eagerness to do the right thing (and love of good food!).  The usual supporting cast are all in evidence, from the steadfast Fazio, to the showy (and now married with a child on the way) Augello, and the bumbling, but frequently hilarious Catarella.  The book is filled with the series’ trademark mouthwatering descriptions of Montalbano’s beloved local cuisine, and the Sicilian atmosphere almost leaps off the page.

This book however, is somewhat darker in tone than those which precede it.  Questions are raised not only about Montalbano’s ability to do his job, but also whether his health is all it should be.  The nature of the enquiry – into the illegal trafficking of immigrants, and specifically children – takes the reader into an uncomfortable area.  None of this is a critcism however; this series tends to get better with every book, and this is possibly my favourite so far. 

An excellent read, but I would urge anyone wanting to read any of the Montalbano series, to start at the first book and read through them in order. 

 

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In this sixth outing for Sicilian Police Inspector Salvatore Montalbano, the irascible, food loving and grumpy Inspector finds himself involved in the case of a missing financial wizard, Emanuele Gargano.  Gargano has disappeared with several investors’ money, and people think that he has either crossed the wrong person and ended up murdered, or that he has pocketed the money and run away.  Also missing is Gargano’s assistant, Pellegrino, who was in the process of having a new house built in one of Montalbano’s favourite places to relax (something that upsets the Inspector tremendously).  Montalbano and his eccentric team of colleagues find themselves on the trail of the missing men, being led up one way streets and finding more questions than answers.

This was another hugely enjoyable slice of action from this series.  While there is certainly an interesting mystery at the heart of the story, for me the enjoyment comes more from the personalities and relationships of the Officers.  By this stage of the series, they are well known to the reader and it was great to catch up with them again.  There’s also a great cast of new characters in this book, who are all very interesting.

These books are fun to read, with a very quirky main character.  While Montalbano is rude at times, not averse to manipulating the truth if necessary and willing to circumvent conventional methods of investigation, he is also someone who I have formed a great affection for throughout the series.  The writing is delightful, with several humorous touches, and it’s very hard to put down.  I have enjoyed all of the Montalbano books so far, and this was probably one of the best.

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This is the fifth book in the Inspector Montalbano series.  It’s not essential to have read any of the previous books to understand what is happening, but I would recommend it, as the characters have been developed over the series.

In this installment, Police Inspector Montalbano finds himself  heading up an investigation into a young playboy.  At the same time he finds himself dealing with the disappearance of an elderly couple.  Initially there appears to be no connection between the two crimes, but when it discovered that all three people lived in the same apartment block, Montalbano’s suspicions become aroused.  His investigation takes him and his team into dangerous territory involving the Sicilian Mafia.

As is the case with all of the books I have read in this series (so far), the case is interesting, but it takes a back seat to the interaction between the various characters. Salvo Montalbano is an irritable, grumpy man who feels that he is being left behind in a word where technology is taking over.  However, he has amazing intuition and a terrific sense of humour, as well as a deep sense of honour.  His interactions with his detective team – particularly the hapless Catarella and the smart Augello  – are amusing and believable.

The book (and indeed the series) also paints a vivid picture of Sicilian life and culture. It’s a light read, but an interesting one.  This series has not disappointed me yet!

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This is the fourth book in the Inspector Montalbano series.  As with all of the others, I enjoyed it very much, although it does slightly feel like more of the same.  The books are pretty formulaic, but that does not in any way detract from the pleasure of reading them.  

In this book, Montalbano investigates the violent murder of a beautiful woman. There appear to be many possible suspects for the murder, and as always, Montalbano manages to upset his superiors, his colleagues and even his girlfriend, the long suffering Livia, during the course of his investigations.  Things of course, are not what they initially seem, and it is up to Montalbano to find his way through the web of lies, and get to the truth of the matter.  In the meantime, there are problems in his personal life, where events do not unfold as Montalbano and Livia had hoped.

By this point in the series, the characters of Montalbano and his colleagues are all familiar to us, and therefore not a lot of time is spent on developing them (there’s no need to spend time doing this).

All in all, a very good read, with plenty of Montalbano’s trademark caustic wit and grumpiness, and lots of the lovely Sicilian foods of which he is so fond.

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I absolutely loved this book.  It is the third in the Montalbano series, which I am reading in order, and so far I think it is my favourite.

In this one, the world-weary Montalbano gets embroiled in a case involving an apparently respectable retired businessman who was murdered in the lift at his building, and a Tunisian fisherman murdered in a trawler boat just off the Sicilian coast.  During the course of the investigation, he finds himself becoming reluctantly a kind of ‘surrogate father’ to a young boy, Francois, whose mother, a cleaner and prostitute named Karima, who is involved in the case, and who goes missing.  This puts great strain on the Inspector’s relationship with his girlfriend Livia.

Montalbano is a character who I really like despite myself.  His friends and colleagues consider him to be unreasonable, and possibly crazy, and yet they still like and respect him.  This reflects this reader’s impression of the man.  Overall, I would recommend this book, and indeed the whole Montalbano series, based on the books I have read so far.

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This was my 20th book this year, and the second one in the Salvo Montalbano series, by Andrea Camilleri.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it is definitely one of my favourite books so far this year. Montalbano is a gruff, sometimes bad tempered, Inspector, with a penchant for good food and wine, and deep morals, as well as a wry sense of humour, and a very intuitive mind.

This book sees him hearing the dying words of a powerful member of the Mafia, which leads him to a hidden cave, where he finds the body of a young couple, who have been dead for at least 50 years…the whole scene is being watched over by a life size terracotta dog.

Montalbano becomes wrapped up in trying to identify the dead couple, and understand how they came to be in a cave, and the significance of the terracotta dog.  His investigation takes him to some dangerous places, and places his life in peril, but he is determined not to give in.

The book really paints a picture of Sicilian life, and the characters really seem to come to life.  Additionally, you can almost smell the gorgeous food which Montalbano is so fond of, coming off the page!

Terrific writing, quirky characters and a hugely enjoyable read.  Highly recommended!

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