Viking, Oct 2003, 21.95, 249 pp.
Sicilian Inspector Salvo Montalbano is already irritated after taking a skin lashing from his live in lover Livia over a setback in their efforts to adopt Francois of THE SNACK THIEF Francois. Now Salvo is in the shotgun seat on a drive to a distant funeral that he does not want to attend.
Salvo has a new issue to cope with when he finds the body of a recently murdered young woman. He begins the inquiries from a distance hoping to avoid the trek. However, that technique fails so Salvo begins his onsite investigation. He finds the crime scene looks inconsistent as if it was tampered with and the report on the victim is even more contradictory. Was she a devoted wife and medical practitioner or was she a loose woman who enjoyed rough sex. Salvo is removed from the case for political reasons, but pushes his way back in when he believes the local cops are going down the wrong path.
This is a powerful tale even in a clever translation (by Stephen Sartarelli from the original Italian) that showcases one of the more intelligent police procedurals on the market today. Salvo is intelligent, witty and misbehaving as he steps on anyone who gets in his way on a case. On the other hand he takes rib shots in his personal life. Fans will take much delight with this strong humorous tale that displays why Andrea Camilleri is a great author and hopefully his Montalbano mysteries will reach American TV like it has in Italy.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner