Viking, May 2002, 21.95, 298 pp.
At about the same time a Tunisian patrol boat kills a worker on an Italian fishing trawler, an unknown assailant stabs to death a retiree, Mr. Lapecora, in the elevator of his apartment building. Montalbano is assigned the local homicide while his Lady Macbeth-like ambitious superior Mimi Augello takes “public” charge of the international incident.
Montalbano seeks Mr. Lapecora's house cleaner, Karima, who supplements her income with prostitution and the lady's son. When the Inspector catches up to the lad, he begins to understand the elevator homicide and it's surprisingly link to the trawler killing. Though warned to stay out of the Tunisian murder by both sides of the law and others, Montalbano digs deep into cases filled with government corruption packed tighter than a can of sardines.
Even though this is a translation from the original Italian, fans of police procedurals will appreciate this tight sans Mafia Sicilian mystery. The story line never slows down as the hero investigates one crime that takes him to the second murder and much more. Montalbano is a delightful protagonist who sub-genre readers will want to follow. Hopefully more of Andrea Camilleri's novels are translated into English rather quickly or many Anglo-speaking fans will learn Italian rather soon.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner