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35 of 36 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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31 of 31 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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31 of 31 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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35 of 36 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
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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9 of 9 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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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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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This review is from: The Age of Doubt: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 14 (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classy novel with an intriguing cast of characters and lots of local colour, 19 Dec. 2012
By 
Thomas Cunliffe "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
I'm new to Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series of books. The Age of Doubt is number 14 so I have a lot of catching up to do. I bit of research on Andrea Camilleri showed me that he (yes, Andrea is a man not a woman) is now 87 years old and wrote his first Montalbano book in 1994, The Shape of Water (Montalbano 1).

In The Age of Doubt we find Inspector Salvo Montalbano dealing with a badly disfigured body found at sea and brought into Vigàta harbour by a large luxury yacht owned by the mysterious Livia Giovannini.

The book opens with Salvo having a chance encounter in a traffic jam with a strange young woman who he rescues when her car is on the verge of tipping over into a flooded channel. He takes her back to the police station while she waits to have her car recovered and hears that she is heading out to meet the very yacht which has brought in the body.

Before long, Montalbano finds himself deeply involved in investigating the phenomenally wealthy yacht owner and her crew. Is the body linked to them in some way? Why does the yacht spend so much time at sea, travelling around Africa and Europe? Why has the woman he rescued from the car now disappeared?

On the way, Montalbano finds himself dealing with a beautiful young harbour official, Lieutenant Belladonna. As he works with her to solve the mystery of the yacht he finds that they are getting on remarkably well together -

"They smoked their cigarettes together. She said her name was Laura. And since they hit it off well, they each smoked a second cigarette while telling each other a few things about themselves. When they said goodbye, it was clear that they would have liked to smoke another ten cigarettes together".

Although he has now reached an age when encounters like this should not trouble him, Salvo finds himself becoming besotted with the glamorous Belladonna and soon becomes embroiled in one of the most painful relationships of his career.

This book is a sheer pleasure to read. It is fast and pacy, full of local colour, and is an example of what police procedurals should be. You have an interesting, fully human detective with all his good and bad points on display, a cast of colourful support characters, an intriguing mystery and some fantastic locations on the island of Sicily. I rate it highly and now look forward to reading earlier novels in the series so I can fill in the gaps in Montalbano's back story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable, but short of the best, 26 Nov. 2012
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To be honest, if this had been the first Montalbano I had ever bought, I would probably not bother with any of the others, which would be a shame. It falls short of the best, and the rating reflects that. In fact, had I not been an avid reader for many years, the rating would probably have been lower. Why the contradiction? Well, as an afficianado, it is wonderful that Camilleri seems to assume you have read the earlier novels, and doesn't waste time re- explaining the back stories of all the regular characters the way some series authors do in every book, just in case you are a new reader. So this book would possibly be confusing to read as a one off, without having read at least some of the others. Don't get me wrong, if you love Montalbano, you'll want to read this. For me, it focuses too much on the Inspector's later-life personal crisis. I do wonder, how much longer he can keep going. He's 58 now in this story, at what age do Italian policemen have to retire? To sum up, not long ago, I re-read al the books in chronological order, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The next time I do it, I'm sure I can skip this one.
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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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This review is from: The Age of Doubt: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 14 (Kindle Edition)
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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This review is from: The Age of Doubt: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 14 (Kindle Edition)
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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This review is from: The Age of Doubt: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 14 (Kindle Edition)
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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