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The Potter's Field (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) Hardcover – 26 Apr 2012

107 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mantle; Main Market Ed. edition (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447203291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447203292
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.7 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrea Camilleri is one of Italy's most famous contemporary writers. His Montalbano series has been adapted for Italian television and translated into nine languages. He lives in Rome. Stephen Sartarelli is an award-winning translator. He is also the author of three books of poetry, most recently The Open Vault. He lives in France.

Product Description


`There are witty asides - someone was "a known ne'er-do-well so it was only logical that he should turn to politics" - but the Montalbano books are attractive because of their amusing characters and the person of inspector himself. It is impossible not enjoy the way, with tears of happiness in his eyes, he devours food, from anchovies cooked in lemon juice and dressed in olive oil to giant cannoli.'
--Times Literary Supplement

'Montalbano is a fictional detective like no other. He lives in a beautiful seaside house, swims in the sea every day and has a taste for good rustic Sicilian food ... I drooled over no less than seven descriptions of meals at Enzo s Trattoria or cooked by housekeeper Adeline and this is about par for the course ... I only start a Camilleri if I have an afternoon off. Just can t put it down.' --The Bay Magazine (Swansea)

Book Description

A dark and compelling mystery featuring the inimitable Inspector Montalbano: 'the best company in crime fiction today' Guardian

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Another witty and entertaining ramble with Inspector Salvo Montalbano through the criminal peccadilloes and charms of Sicily. "The Potter's Field" provides a clever mystery plot, terrific characters and a continuing insightful look at Sicilian culture and society, which only nominally resembles its Italian counterparts (according to author Andrea Camilleri, at least).

In "The Potter's Field", Inspector Montalbano faces a murder case that begins with the discovery of a chopped up body in a bag; a mini-rebellion and malaise at his police station; and the daily personal struggles with the human aging process. The strongest part of this fine crime novel is, as always with author Camilleri, the interplay of the wonderfully colorful characters. There are times when you can imagine Fellini orchestrating this rich mix. The procedural element of the story is relatively transparent, but Montalbano's deductions and moves toward solving the central crime of the book are not, and therefore the book's conclusion(s)--to the reader's pleasure--is invisible until the last few pages.

This book has it all--an intelligent and engrossing plot, great characters and entertaining cultural notes (Montalbano is a gourmand whose many encounters with Sicilian cuisine are recorded by the author in minute detail). Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ross Alexander on 30 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the thirteenth in Camilleri's Montalbano series. It's also the best. Not because the plot is notably better than the others but because Camilleri has ramped up his use of scathing dry humour. A notable example is Montalbano's rant at the Commissioner when be utters a statement crafted almost entirely from the titles of Dostoyevsky novels. 'Had the Commissioner noticed? Of course not! The man was ignorant as a goat'.

It's clear that during the writing of this book, Camilleri's mood alternated between productive days (when he moves the plot forward) and witty days when he focuses on crafting sharp dialogue and dry one-liners. At times (particularly the first few pages of Chapter 5), the narrative is painfully funny and I was tempted to award a spiteful single star because I'd been laughing so much that it was beginning to hurt.

Camilleri brings a warts-and-all Sicily to vibrant, colourful and fragrant life in much the same way that James Lee Burke achieves for southern Louisiana. It's therefore a source of dismay that, unlike Burke, Camilleri chooses to adopt largely fictitious place names. This deprives the reader the opportunity of enjoying a memorable week retracing Montalbano's footsteps. The Author's concluding note contains the depressing phrase 'As is obvious, the names of .... streets, hotels etc are entirely fictitious and make no reference to reality'. What a shame.

But read the book anyway. It's a treat.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) "For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
'Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it';
'Let another take his office.'"
-- Acts 1:19-20 (NKJV)

It's hard to know what to praise more: the engaging story by Andrea Camilleri or the superb translation by Stephen Sartarelli. Since I can't read Italian, I'll just split the difference in sharing with you that The Potter's Field is a terrific book. If you like police procedurals, The Potter's Field is an exceptionally fine example.

The plot, while impressive in its complications, takes back seat to the marvelous character development in the book focused on Inspector Salvo Montalbano and his friend and subordinate, Inspector Mimi Augello.

Mimi is grumpy all the time . . . and seems to be blaming Montalbano for whatever the cause is. Mimi's behavior is also uncharacteristic. What could be the problem?

As in all of the best Montalbano stories, the inspector relies more on careful thinking than on fieldwork or crime scene investigations. He even draws on analysis of his own dreams to figure out what's really going on. As such, Montalbano is more in the grand tradition of Nero Wolfe than the 86th Precinct.

Before long, Montalbano understands what's probably going on and realizes that he has a problem: Mimi is in a delicate position from which only Montalbano can extract him. How will looking out for a friend work with trying to locate a murderer?

Andrea Camilleri rewards his readers with lots of humorous scenes, ironically funny references, and just-plain slapstick.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Simpson-long VINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have a new upstairs neighbour and heaven knows what she must have thought the other night as I went to bed and started reading the latest Inspector Montalbano book by Camilleri, The Potter's Field. The first chapter had me weeping with laughter and in the end I just put the book down and lay in bed in hysterics. The combination of finding a body on a muddy hill, torrential rain, slippy underfoot and Catarella hurtling down the hill was just too much for my equilibrium. Put in words it does not sound funny, you have to read it and you have to know and love these books and, if you do, you will totally understand.

The body found in the Potter's Field bears all the hallmarks of a Mafia style killing, but nobody can identify the victim, who has been hacked into 30 pieces. While working on this mysterious case, Salvo has to deal with the irrational behaviour of his colleague Mimi, who is exhibiting signs of slipping back into his philandering ways despite having a wife and a young son. It seems he has fallen prey to Dolores Alfano, a stunningly beautiful and sexy woman, who enchants and enslaves all the men she meets - she makes Montalbano feel a tad frazzled himself when she comes in to report her husband missing. No prizes for guessing what has happened to him....

A complicated and intricate puzzle solved by the wonderful Montelbano with wit and humour along the way and, naturally, the consumption of marvellously described food. I simply adore these books - I was not sure about them when I first started reading them but now I wish Andrea Camilleri a long and healthy life so that he can continue to keep me enchanted with Salvo and his colleagues.
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