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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Longest Mid-Life Crisis in Literature
Beware - the usually crusty Inspector Montalbano is downright unlikable this time around. He's worried about getting older, as usual. He's impatient with his colleagues, his underlings, and the suspects. As usual. And he treats his longtime, long distance girlfriend, Livia, with even more indifference than usual.

Despite all this, The Age of Doubt is a gem of a...
Published on 18 Jun 2012 by takingadayoff

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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Salvo discovers that passion for mullet is safer than passion for a younger woman - 3+
"The Age of Doubt" finds the redoubtable Inspector Montalbano increasingly preoccupied with the aging process. Into his pondering of the cycle of life drops a murder case connected to two luxury yachts that have turned up in Vigata's small harbor. The subsequent investigation leads to the Inspector's meeting of a stunningly beautiful young harbor official. Salvo is...
Published on 7 Jun 2012 by Blue in Washington


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Salvo discovers that passion for mullet is safer than passion for a younger woman - 3+, 7 Jun 2012
By 
Blue in Washington "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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"The Age of Doubt" finds the redoubtable Inspector Montalbano increasingly preoccupied with the aging process. Into his pondering of the cycle of life drops a murder case connected to two luxury yachts that have turned up in Vigata's small harbor. The subsequent investigation leads to the Inspector's meeting of a stunningly beautiful young harbor official. Salvo is poleaxed with love by the encounter and much of the rest of the story is taken up by his struggles to cope with the uncomfortable infatuation. His legendary focus on police business suffers; his relationship with long-time girlfriend Livia becomes seriously at risk; and he is pushed into a manic binge on seafood at the local trattoria.

"The Age..." has some of the usual great moments that come with the Montalbano series, including a slam bang ending, but for me, the love crisis that is the center of this episode was a bit too drawn out and led to some events that were out of character for the Inspector and for the series. Still, a midlife crisis arguably makes even the most rational and responsible people do improbable and irrational things, so maybe even the Inspector....

In sum, a good read, if not the best book in this very high standard series.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Longest Mid-Life Crisis in Literature, 18 Jun 2012
By 
takingadayoff "takingadayoff" (Las Vegas, Nevada) - See all my reviews
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Beware - the usually crusty Inspector Montalbano is downright unlikable this time around. He's worried about getting older, as usual. He's impatient with his colleagues, his underlings, and the suspects. As usual. And he treats his longtime, long distance girlfriend, Livia, with even more indifference than usual.

Despite all this, The Age of Doubt is a gem of a murder mystery. It gets to the murder and the mystery right away, and it's short and punchy, a real pulp-style page turner. It's hard to sympathize with Montalbano, but we are still interested in how he will solve the crime and if he will be able to prevent further mayhem.

As attractive as Montalbano apparently is to women, they are still quite a mystery to him. Both he and the buffoonish Catarella are stumped by the presence of women who are not what they seem. They are even stumped by a woman who is exactly what she appears to be - a Coast Guard officer. Of course there are no women in the Vigata police department.

The series is consistently good, and that's a rare thing. In addition to author Camilleri's talents, we have to give credit to translator Stephen Sartarelli. He knows when to translate and when to just explain. It's smooth and natural, never awkward or clunky.

Unlike Montalbano. (Next installment is The Dance of the Seagull coming in February 2013.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Salvo besotted, 23 Feb 2013
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Age of Doubt (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (Hardcover)
Inspector Salvatore Montalbano`s long-distance - and irascible, high-maintenance - girlfriend Livia barely (in either sense of the word) gets a look in during the course of this enjoyable, rather autumnal fourteenth book in the series, though there is another Livia in this story, as well as a woman called Laura, who sets Salvo`s pulses racing, and with whom he becomes besotted, so much so that he finds it difficult to concentrate on his work.
We Montalbano fans know that the books Camilleri, now aged 86 and still writing, has so prolifically been churning out for our delight in recent years, are crime novels in name only. In fact, they chart the volatile life, loves, detective work, and culinary obssessions of the thoughtful, literate, woman-loving, mostly loyal, usually honest lone wolf called Salvo Montalbano.
Not one of the series is worth less than four stars, many are gems - for example the second book, The Terracotta Dog. This is an excellent late addition to what I hope will only come to an end when Camilleri can`t hold a pen or type any more.
The plot is hardly worth going into, being less convoluted than some in the series, and more to do with the characters than any story machinations. Salvo is involved in a case which takes him to the harbour, in which three women appear who are not quite what they at first appear to be, or say they are. All run several rings round the increasingly hapless Salvo, his loyalty to girlfriend Livia hitting rocky waters, his obsession with the stunning Laura compromising his sanity.
There is a certain carelessness in some of the writing this time, in regard to letting one or two matters slide without explanation, but on the whole this is a thoroughly good read and an honourable chapter in the saga - the farce, perhaps I should say, as these books are often laugh-aloud funny - of Salvo, his colleagues, and the various women he collides with in the course of duty in `Vigata`, the town in Sicily in which the series is based.
I won`t give anything away if I say that by the last pages I had tears in my eyes.
God only knows (or rather the atheist Camilleri perhaps knows) how the saga will finally end, but please don`t let it be soon. I`ve read all these books, often more than once - and will certainly read and re-read them again - and can`t bear the thought of saying goodbye to Salvo, Livia, Ingrid, Fazio, Mimi, proud restaurateur Enzo, the absurd but gentlemanly Dr Lattes, or even that exasperating mangler of language "Cat" Catarella...
As always, translator Stephen Sartarelli performs wonders. He could alomst be credited as co-writer, so perfect are his idiomatic translations.
Roll on #15!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still the best Italian detective, but ..., 8 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Age of Doubt (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (Hardcover)
Camilleri is one of the great writers of Italian detective fiction, and is certainly my favourite by a long margin. And Montalbano is the best Italian detective since, well, since ever. So I wanted to praise this latest book, The Age of Doubt, but I have to admit - reluctantly - that it is way below standard.

Yes, the plot is as good as ever, and most of the characters are just as enjoyable too, but what has happened to Montalbano? I do not want to give too much away to those of you who have not read the book - and if you haven't read it, then I still urge you to do so - but Montalbano's love interest, his coup de foudre (is there an Italian expression of equivalent force?), has him acting far out of the character created so well in the earlier books. This is not a mid-life crisis; it is behaviour that would be unconvincing if Montalbano were the most gauche adolescent.

For lovers of the earlier books, there will be too many jarring issues. To take just two. Given Montalbano's affection for Mimì's wife Beba, how could he encourage Mimì into an affair with a suspect? It just doesn't ring true. And then there is a sub-plot in which Montalbano uses the death of his own invented child as an excuse for not doing his paper-work. Too much, too much.

As a final query, what is the sudden and strange obsession with "clichés" all about?

Camilleri has been served well in the past by his translator, Stephen Sartarelli, one of the best and someone who has added much to our enjoyment of the books. Even Sartarelli seems to give up. How exactly does anyone "inhale a whole glass of whisky in a single gulp"?

My affection for Camilleri and Montalbano and the pleasure they have given me over the years urge me to give the book five stars, or even four, but three is all I can muster. Even that may seem generous. Let's hope that The Age of Doubt is a temporary fall from grace. And let us hope even more fervently that this is not Montalbano's last appearance. Not just because we want more, but because I would hate to see my favourite detective go out on such a low, even such a silly, note.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant like the otehrs in the series, 20 Mar 2013
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Better than the tv series which was very good, great characters, particualrly the desk sergeant!!!! Love Montalbano an honestbut unpredicatble policeman with a conscience
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's that man again!, 20 Feb 2013
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What can I say, I love this character Montalbano. First discovered him on tv, and was delighted to find the books! I've read them all, and although they are similar to each other - I love that similarity, and the characterisations. I read it from cover to cover - practically non-stop.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, 27 Dec 2012
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As always, Montalbano manages to charm the reader, I read the books not because they keep me on the edge of my seat, but because the bring back memories of holidays in Sicily and Montalbano is nothing if not human.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Camilleri's subtle characterisations overshadow a less than compelling plot, 5 Aug 2014
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
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Almost the best writing in this new Inspector Montalbano mystery, again translated by Stephen Sartarelli, occurs in the first few pages when he wakes from a dream and remembers it over his first coffee of the day. Thereafter, the Inspector embarks on a murder case that seems to involve a young woman whom he met in a traffic jam after part of the road collapsed in a storm. True to form, after feeding him a string of lies she disappears.

Much of the action in this book takes place in the harbor of Vigàta in which the body of a man is found by the crew of the yacht, Vanna, his face badly mutilated. The yacht’s crew is a very mixed bag and its owner, Livia Giovannini, subsequently puts Mimi Augello under considerable pressure. The need to work closely with the Harbour Office brings Montalbano into contact with Lieutenant Laura Belladonna [‘a good six inches taller than him, dark, with bright sparkling eyes, red lips in no need of lipstick, and above all, a very pleasant manner.’]. Despite being in his late-50s, the Inspector forgets about his longsuffering girlfriend, Livia, and starts to behave like a love-struck teenager.

At the same time, Montalbano’s dealings with his superiors cause him to construct elaborate stories about his non-existent wife and children, one of whom sadly dies, car accidents and bodily injuries. At such times, Camilleri’s humour is exhilarating although the well meaning and sympathetic Dr Lattes, in particular, is treated rather badly. The book is very much about the Inspector and his familiar strengths and weaknesses, not least his increasing tendency to over-eat. Fazio and, especially, Mimì are rather peripheral, and the author gives a nod toward Georges Simenon.

The plot is rather rudimentary and a great deal happens rather quickly towards the, rather tragic, ending, including the anticipated reappearance of the traffic jam victim. En route the reader is entertained by Catarella’s verbal delivery and amazed by his ability to get the name of caller correct, confused by Laura’s erratic behavior, enjoys Montalbano’s sparring with the pathologist, Dr Pasquano, and salivates at meals eaten at home and at Enzo’s [but certainly not at the Pesce d’Oro, ‘Stinking and expensive to boot! The cook must have been a terminal drug addict or a criminal sadist. . . . The guy didn't get a single thing right, not even by accident.’]

The recent clutch of Camilleri’s books has tended to play down the plotting in favour of subtle additions and reinforcements of Montalbano’s ageing character. Whilst this will no doubt delight almost all established readers, who can add more from their own personal impressions, it may create a rather bland impression in those coming newly to Sicily, Vigàta and the police investigators. However, there is a chilling scene when the Inspector is sent a ‘a funeral cushion of white flowers in the middle of his desk, the kind that lays on coffins.’, the classic Mafia warning.

As well as translating to his normal very high standards, Sartarelli also adds his usual informative notes at the end of the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Camilleri's subtle characterisations overshadow a less than compelling plot, 4 Aug 2014
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Age of Doubt (Paperback)
Almost the best writing in this new Inspector Montalbano mystery, again translated by Stephen Sartarelli, occurs in the first few pages when he wakes from a dream and remembers it over his first coffee of the day. Thereafter, the Inspector embarks on a murder case that seems to involve a young woman whom he met in a traffic jam after part of the road collapsed in a storm. True to form, after feeding him a string of lies she disappears.

Much of the action in this book takes place in the harbor of Vigàta in which the body of a man is found by the crew of the yacht, Vanna, his face badly mutilated. The yacht’s crew is a very mixed bag and its owner, Livia Giovannini, subsequently puts Mimi Augello under considerable pressure. The need to work closely with the Harbour Office brings Montalbano into contact with Lieutenant Laura Belladonna [‘a good six inches taller than him, dark, with bright sparkling eyes, red lips in no need of lipstick, and above all, a very pleasant manner.’]. Despite being in his late-50s, the Inspector forgets about his longsuffering girlfriend, Livia, and starts to behave like a love-struck teenager.

At the same time, Montalbano’s dealings with his superiors cause him to construct elaborate stories about his non-existent wife and children, one of whom sadly dies, car accidents and bodily injuries. At such times, Camilleri’s humour is exhilarating although the well meaning and sympathetic Dr Lattes, in particular, is treated rather badly. The book is very much about the Inspector and his familiar strengths and weaknesses, not least his increasing tendency to over-eat. Fazio and, especially, Mimì are rather peripheral, and the author gives a nod toward Georges Simenon.

The plot is rather rudimentary and a great deal happens rather quickly towards the, rather tragic, ending, including the anticipated reappearance of the traffic jam victim. En route the reader is entertained by Catarella’s verbal delivery and amazed by his ability to get the name of caller correct, confused by Laura’s erratic behavior, enjoys Montalbano’s sparring with the pathologist, Dr Pasquano, and salivates at meals eaten at home and at Enzo’s [but certainly not at the Pesce d’Oro, ‘Stinking and expensive to boot! The cook must have been a terminal drug addict or a criminal sadist. . . . The guy didn't get a single thing right, not even by accident.’]

The recent clutch of Camilleri’s books has tended to play down the plotting in favour of subtle additions and reinforcements of Montalbano’s ageing character. Whilst this will no doubt delight almost all established readers, who can add more from their own personal impressions, it may create a rather bland impression in those coming newly to Sicily, Vigàta and the police investigators. However, there is a chilling scene when the Inspector is sent a ‘a funeral cushion of white flowers in the middle of his desk, the kind that lays on coffins.’, the classic Mafia warning.

As well as translating to his normal very high standards, Sartarelli also adds his usual informative notes at the end of the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This series of books really must rank with the best of crime fiction, 2 Sep 2014
By 
R. J. de Bulat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Age of Doubt (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (Hardcover)
Montalbano is getting older - 58, to be precise; he is becoming jaded and weary, finding both significance and mystery in dreams and looking for something to give his life more meaning. Livia, his long-distance and long suffering lover of many years is a long way from his thinking. especially as a young beauty, who seems to have fallen for him offers at least the promise of both love and desire. There is, of course, the matter of an unidentified, murdered man a mysterious yacht and her crew and all of the his police side-kicks to take into account; and the need to keep it hush-hush, especially from Livia and Fazio, Mimi and the rest who cannot know the left hand from the right...

I think that this is the 13th book in the series and I have savoured everyone, but this I started to read at bedtime and continued to read the next day, absolutely devouring it. Masterfully written, egaging and convincing, our detective is operating more and more in a world he is starting to understand, or at least empathise with, less and less. A great read, nonetheless.
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The Age of Doubt (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)
The Age of Doubt (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) by Andrea Camilleri (Hardcover - 22 Nov 2012)
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