Fourth in the Salvo Montalbano Italian police procedural series in which Salvo discovers the body of a beautiful young woman in her home when he stops to find out why the home's owner has not responded to a note he left when one of their police cars collides with her car that was parked outside the home. As usual, the politics of the department and the country take the case over and Salvo must investigate on the sly after being taken off the case by the new commissioner. The gruff and grumpy Montalbano shows his vulnerable side too, briefly. A quick, enjoyable visit to Sicily where the author puts you right in the heart of the place, evoking smells, tastes and views that leave little to the imagination. Good stuff.
Salvo gets more human with every book! As he's aging, he's becoming more emotional as well, it's a delight to read about him. The mysteries are a plus as well!
Having watched RAI's Montalbano television series (with Luca Zingaretti's outstanding performances as the eccentric inspector), I was expecting to find the novels familiar and boring. Not at all, not in the least. The TV series excel in giving us the visual feel of the exteriors: the superb cast of delightful characters; and the beauty of Camilleri's fictional town of "Vigàta" in the fictional district of "Montelusa" (actually the Sicilian city of Ragusa, Italy, and surrounding towns). The novels give us what TV cannot, the interiors, the feelings and cogitations of the uniquely unpredictable Montalbano and the reactions of those around him. As Montalbano's faithful (and unusually astute) detective, Fazio, says to himself in "The Snack Thief," his boss didn't become insane, he was insane from birth. The novels reinforce TV's visual charm and delicious performances with the "insides" of the plots, people, and places. Camilleri's novels are such a delight to read, I imagine even Montalbano's police force colleagues, friends and lovers, even his opponents (criminal and bureaucratic), who lived the plots with him, would enjoy these books. And Montalbano? He'd read the novels and then ask Camilleri, half-serious, half-mocking, "So, why are you always busting my balls?"