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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A series that just gets better and better
The great Inspector Montelbano is now 57 years old and is worrying about his age. He wakes at five thirty every morning and stares at the ceiling, bemoaning an earlier time when he slept through in one stretch. He has a much younger girl-friend and is keen to show her that he still has many of the attributes of a much younger man, but in reality, it is a bit of a...
Published on 20 Mar. 2013 by Thomas Cunliffe

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Salvo in crisis - 3+
Inspector Salvo Montalbano has been going through some age-related adjustments over the past couple of books in this rich crime series. His life and the stories have been suffering a bit from the esteemed Inspector's preoccupations with physical changes (at age 57), diminishing tolerance of Sicilian/Italian politics and bureaucracy and an overall decrease in confidence in...
Published on 2 Mar. 2013 by Blue in Washington


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A series that just gets better and better, 20 Mar. 2013
By 
Thomas Cunliffe "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dance Of The Seagull (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (Hardcover)
The great Inspector Montelbano is now 57 years old and is worrying about his age. He wakes at five thirty every morning and stares at the ceiling, bemoaning an earlier time when he slept through in one stretch. He has a much younger girl-friend and is keen to show her that he still has many of the attributes of a much younger man, but in reality, it is a bit of a struggle to keep up the pretence.

Of course, we now have an Italian television series Inspector Montelbano which makes appearances on British television with appropriate subtitles. Andrea Camilleri plays games with is readers by bringing this into the The Dance of the Seagull: at one stage his girl-friend Livia proposes a short break in the Val del Noto, but Montelbano refuses to go saying, "I wouldn't want to run into a film crew shooting an episode of that television series just as we're walking around there . . . They film them around there, you know."

The book opens with Inspector Montelbano opening his doors one morning and observing a seagull in it's death-throws. It lands on the beach and does a peculiar dance, turning round and round with it's beak turned up to the sky and then suddenly collapsing. It is a very unusual thing to see a bird die and Montelbano drives off to work unable to get the image of death out of his head.

When he arrives at the police station Montelbano immediately gets involved with a disappearance - his long-term detective partner Giuseppe Fazio has failed to turn up for work, and didn't go home the previous evening. Montelabano drives to the docks, the scene of Fazio's last known visit following a report of smuggling, and hears reports of shootings in the dead of night. One thing leads to another and Montelbano is soon on the trail of Detective Fazio, while not knowing whether he is dead or alive.

One of the charms of Andrea Camilleri's books is the bucketfuls of local colour - we read of Sicilian restaurants, the narrow streets teeming with people, the scenery (whether the blue seas of the coast or the arid inland regions, dangerous because of deep fissures in the rocks and ancient wells). It is to one of these inland regions that the trail of Fazio leads and Montelbano finds himself in some very dangerous situations as he discovers the gruesome remains of a body that had a terrible death.

The trail leads on via a beautiful seductress and the last members of a particularly vicious Mafia clan. There is plenty of excitement here, but what appeals to me the most is the character of the Inspector, someone who the author now inhabits like an old glove - his foibles and eccentricities on display throughout, together with a hard-boiled cynicism which prevents him from taking anything at face value. If ever there was a mature fictional character Montelbano is it.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Salvo in crisis - 3+, 2 Mar. 2013
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Blue in Washington "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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Inspector Salvo Montalbano has been going through some age-related adjustments over the past couple of books in this rich crime series. His life and the stories have been suffering a bit from the esteemed Inspector's preoccupations with physical changes (at age 57), diminishing tolerance of Sicilian/Italian politics and bureaucracy and an overall decrease in confidence in satisfaction with his job performance. Despite the thrashing around, Montalbano has pretty much been able to pull it together by the end of each book (always with some help from the kitchen).

"The Dance of the Seagull" follows this general direction and delivers a pretty satisfactory read by the last page. The story opens with some horribly uncomfortable moments of total miscommunication between Montalbano and his long-time main squeeze, Livia. He does something that literally set my teeth on edge for twenty or so pages and calls into question his continuing relationship with Livia or any other woman. His excuse for the blunder is tied to the disappearance of one of his closest lieutenants, who eventually resurfaces badly banged up and in the middle of a terrible murder scenario. A typical Montalbano procedural ensues, with the Inspector operating as a Lone Ranger in the investigation, frustrating his colleagues and boss. What keeps "The Dance..." from meeting the high standards earlier Montalbano stories is the overly convoluted motivations of the villains of the piece (Mafioso with a big secret, the Mafia itself and greedy others in league with Russians and Arab terrorists) and other exotica that are a little tough for the reader to wholly swallow.

Ultimately, Salvo catches the bad guys, covers his own weird tracks and settles down for a big plate of carponata. What's missing at the end is much resolution to his mid-life crisis and mending of his dented relations with friends and colleagues. You might say, "Who cares?--this is a crime novel". But the Montalbano stories are way beyond just crime stories. The characters count; and above all the character of the principal counts a great deal. The reader (OK, me) needs some reassurance that this guy is going to be alright in the end.

This is a very fine series--the writing and translation still shine in many important ways, I hope that there's some character evolution coming in future books. And I hope also that there will be many more of these books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The disappearance of Fazio, 18 Feb. 2014
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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Montalbano is on ‘his’ beach when he sees a seagull fall from the sky and die... and only he can make a connection between this event, the disappearance of his colleague Fazio, and a tangled mafiosa crime.

This is one of the more convoluted plots in this series with a crime which stretches outside of Sicily. Nevertheless, Camilleri keeps his various strands clear and gives us a new view of Montalbano: firstly distraught about Fazio, and then shockingly brutal, even if he is only acting.

This is a wonderful series but this isn’t a book to choose if you haven’t read at least some of the earlier ones. The tone here is much darker than, for example, August Heat, and Montalbano is even off his food on occasion! There is some lightening of the atmosphere with Camilleri’s trademark comedy, though, with some farcical swipes at Italian politics. Another great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars somewhere between 3 and 4 stars: by no means terrible, 8 Nov. 2014
By 
R de Bulat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dance Of The Seagull (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (Hardcover)
I love this series of books and this one, no less than the rest is eminently readable, but one cannot gloss over the feeling that the plotline stretches one's credulity. All of the things one associates with this series of books including characters, humour, the iracibility of our detective hero, etc. are present, but the storyline is not quite as strong as one has come to expect. Livia, the long-distance and occasional love of Montalbano's life makes an entrance and disappears just as quick with a young nurse to act as the person to get the pulse racing, on orders of the mafia, who drops him like a 57 year old stone when the danger is past, just to remind Montalbano that he is no longer the young lothario he once was. The plot hinges on the disappearance of Fazio, the byzantine intrigues of the local mafiosi and the equally close fisted machinations of Montalbano himself. Don't get me wrong, this is a very readable story and it will keep you interested from start to end, but ultimately, it just feels a little bit contrived and just less than completely believable. My feeling is that the book is too short; the ending feels rushed and, with some surreal references to the TV series and the differences between the TV character and the written one, it seems a tad light on convincing ideas and a series that has run out of steam. I hate to say this, but it is not one of the best, which is not to say that it is no good and for fans of the writing, not a complete disappointment, but neither is it completely satisfying. Ah well, cosi e la vita!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When can we expect no. 16?, 21 Mar. 2013
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J. L. Hill (South Wales) - See all my reviews
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Fantastic! I loved it. The life of Sicilian Chief Inspector Salvo Montalbano is never easy probably because he tells so many 'fibs' to people to cover up what is really happening he sometimes can't remember just what he has said. His merry band of men at the Police station in Vigata come to life and I would really advise anyone to start with book 1. All the stories will stand alone but to read them as they are meant to be read, in sequence, is the best way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Back on top form, 4 Mar. 2013
By 
P. Webster "Phil W." (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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Camilleri is back on top form with this latest Montalbano story, translated by Stephen Sartarelli. I was disappointed with the previous one in the series, "The Age of Doubt", and I feared that Camilleri was going to slip downhill. But with this offering he's bounced back to his more usual high standard.

In "The Age of Doubt" we got bogged down too much with Montalbano's mid- or late-life crisis; the story was at times depressing; and Montalbano's usually endearing quirkiness went over the top. For example, Montalbano's invention of the death of his non-existent child as an excuse for not doing some paperwork was painfully unfunny.

This time Montalbano is back in character, coming up with a genuinely funny excuse for not going to see his boss, the "c'mishner". (I won't spoil it by saying what it is.) As well as the usual humour relating to Montalbano's character, we have episodes such as a brief but realistic and amusing stand-up row between our hero and his girlfriend Livia, and we have Officer Catarella doing his usual job of getting names wrong when he brings people "poissonally in poisson" into Montalbano's office or takes phone calls on the "swishboard".

In addition to the humorous side, the story is also quite tense at times, and makes for a good old-fashioned crime story. (Though for me the tension was lessened because I had already seen the TV version, which is also excellent.)

We also get the usual glimpses of social criticism and Camilleri's left-leaning politics. There are sideswipes at Berlusconi (not actually named, but referred to as "the richest, most powerful man in the country..."), at corruption, and at the shallowness of the press.

Finally, I'm glad that this book does not contain the sort of inexplicable paranormal episode that the normally down-to-earth Camilleri unaccountably and unfortunately slips into a couple of books in the series. (See my Amazon review of "The Track of Sand.") There is in this book a strange scene involving the gull of the title, but thankfully it can be explained as a trick of Montalbano's mind.

Of the fifteen Montalbano books so far translated into English, I would rate ten of them as five star material, and this is one of those ten.

Phil Webster.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more please!, 7 April 2014
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S. Thompson "soonick" (East Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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I loved all of the stories. A little hard to get the gist of the background to the story sometimes on television because so much is left unsaid, but the characters come to life as you read them. I just love Cattarella!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly dark story told through witty and light storytelling, 18 May 2013
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Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dance Of The Seagull (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (Hardcover)
The Dance of the Seagull is the fifteenth book in the Montalbano series. Whilst Montalbano is a reasonably serious character, the books are light-hearted and witty, as much as about Sicilian life and culture, especially its food, as about solving the crime. The atmosphere and sense of place are nicely realised. The characterisation is well observed and some of the dialogue exchanges are wonderful. As were the internal dialogues between Montalbano 1 and 2, sitting on each of his shoulders. The plot for the most part worked okay, though the resolution felt a little clunky, as if Camilleri wasn't quite sure how it was going to end then somehow muddled through. Moreover, as with the other books, time and space seemed a little elastic -- the investigation takes place at a leisurely pace and everywhere seemed to take a long time to get to and was far away, yet it is meant to be a local police force and Montalbano had an intimate knowledge of the local geography. Overall, a fairly dark story told through witty and light storytelling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mistranslation, 24 Nov. 2013
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A small point, but why is our hero. Il commissario Montalbano, given the English police rank of Inspector? His actual rank is well above that, why even his police station is a Commissaria! The nearest English police rank is Chief Superintendent, three ranks above Inspector and even that has less authority than a Commissario. Then there is the title of head of the State Police in the province, the Questore why not use his title, after all the provincial headquarters of the State Police is the Questura!
With Mimi as the Vice Commissario and the others, Inspettori Fazio and Mazzotta, Sovrintendenti Catarella and Gatarella surely the non-Italian reader can be trustd to work out the ranks withut misleading English ranks being impossed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Back On Form!, 4 April 2013
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After the previous book, where Montalbano's introspection became a little wearing, this is him back on top form, bringing his usual blend of irreverence, impetuousness and irrascibility to the case in hand, which begins with a portentous event on the beach in front of his house. Our hero soon finds himself up against not only the clock, but also powerful interests who would prefer his investigation to be fruitless. With a satisfying resolution, this latest volume is up there with the best in the series.
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The Dance Of The Seagull (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)
The Dance Of The Seagull (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) by Andrea Camilleri (Hardcover - 14 Mar. 2013)
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