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64 Reviews
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A prequel to a wonderful series
Written about 10 years ago but only now translated into English, this is not the best introduction to the wonderful Montalbano series, but will appeal to die-hard fans. Salvo is in his 30s, just promoted and gets transferred to Vigata - the well-known scene of his later adventures.

Much is made of firsts in the story - the first time Montalbano sees what...
Published 9 months ago by Roman Clodia

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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing
I have read all the Montalbano books in translation and enjoyed each one. This is rather different. It is very short, a novella, and as such rather expensive. I note that it has gone down in price by more than 1 since I bought it on 'publication day' four days ago. It is not translated by the translator of the other books. I think those translations were excellent. This...
Published 9 months ago by Tim in Wicklow


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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing, 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
I have read all the Montalbano books in translation and enjoyed each one. This is rather different. It is very short, a novella, and as such rather expensive. I note that it has gone down in price by more than 1 since I bought it on 'publication day' four days ago. It is not translated by the translator of the other books. I think those translations were excellent. This is less so. There are some errors in idiom and in one paragraph the oddly named 'Mery' is apparently referred to as 'Maria'. The editing seems less careful than normal. The translator's notes in the novels are very entertaining. There are none here. Those who like Montalbano will nonetheless not want to miss it. It fills in a lot of background detail, and introduces all the familiar characters in their respective relative youths. Somehow I don't think it would be a good place to start with Montalbano: I'd recommend starting with the 'mature' books.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A prequel to a wonderful series, 22 Oct 2013
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
Written about 10 years ago but only now translated into English, this is not the best introduction to the wonderful Montalbano series, but will appeal to die-hard fans. Salvo is in his 30s, just promoted and gets transferred to Vigata - the well-known scene of his later adventures.

Much is made of firsts in the story - the first time Montalbano sees what becomes his home, the first time he visits a restaurant which becomes 'his', his first meeting with a journalist who becomes a firm friend, his first meeting with police colleagues.

The story itself is only short, a novella easily read in an hour or two, and concerns a young girl who catches Montalbano's interest and her involvements with the corrupt politics and power families of the region. It doesn't have quite the same complexity and depth of the full-length novels but does give a taster of what comes later.

This is a marvellous series and Montalbano a very cool investigator - long-time fans will enjoy this, but it's not the best place to start for anyone new to Camilleri.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars bad translation spoils another really good story, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
I would have given this 5 stars as the tale is the usual devious amusing and creative romp, however, the Americanisms in the translation really grated. All the other books have been well translated without words like 'gotten' 'sidewalk' 'ass' etc. I'm sure Montalbano would be horrified by the poor American English,
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salvo, the acrobat, 24 Oct 2013
This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
I've been reading Andrea Camilleri for more than 15 years now. I think the best thing about his stories is their simplicity. He doesn't seem to try to impress the reader by creating exploding scenes of chaos and mayhem; he just wants to tell a story.

As the title suggests this book is all about Montalbano's First Case. The good detective, who was to become a celebrity one day, in this story is young, but not so inexperienced. He lives and works in Mascalippa, but not for long since soon he's going to be promoted to an Inspector and probably move to another town. The truth is that he doesn't seem to care so much about the promotion, but he does care about the transfer, as he really wants to go away. Not long before he departs, he takes in the landscape:

"In a matter of seconds he saw the landscape of Mascalippa and its surroundings pass before his eyes. It was certainly splendid, but not his cup of tea. For good measure, he also saw four cows grazing on the withering grass. He felt a cold shiver down his spine, like a bout of malaria."

His new place of work and residence is Vigata, a town by the sea. He becomes chief of the department there, and soon enough he comes to realize that the whole show is ran by the Mafia; the rich can get away with anything, while the poor have to suffer the consequences. However, not everything is black since there are a couple of people, one of them a cop, that really like to do what's right.

The new beginning in his career proves somewhat difficult, but Montalbano is not one to run away from trouble. The more some people of power try to push him into the corner, the more he fights back. Corruption is not something he can tolerate, but he knows that if he wants to make a difference he has to balance on a tightrope, made from remnants of the past and the realities of today.

Maintaining the peace however, doesn't necessarily mean that he's willing to allow the criminals go unpunished. He'll do anything to get them, even if that means breaking the law: "Olė! I give you Inspector Salvo Montalbano: otherwise known as the acrobat," he thinks sarcastically as he enters the house of a suspect through an open window.

This book is a little bit short if compared to the other adventures of the good Inspector but it is a fun read and the characterization is solid. And the mystery and the language, keep the reader's interest alive until the very last page. If you're a fan of the author you'll love it, but you'll also enjoy it if you're a lover of Italian literature. It may be short, but it marks the beginning of a literary legend, and as such it deserves all the attention it can get.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sack the translators!, 17 Feb 2014
By 
L. M. Bailey - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
I love the Montalbano books. They are witty, well written, have rounded characters I care about and are full of references to good food - perfect light reading. This one is only tolerable because I am so hooked on the characters and the setting I want to know how it all started. (I haven't seen the TV series.) But the translation! People don't call in or visit, they 'swing by'; the main street in Vigata is now the 'main drag'. The cliches are so abundant it's sometimes difficult to spot the original language in between. And what editor would allow this sentence: 'His father was dressed elegantly as usual and his movements were very elegant as well.' It's not the worst; it just happens to be on the page I'm reading.

I feel sad!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spell binding, 18 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
Montalbano's first case will get you hooked. It is atmospheric and takes you away to Sicily. The characters are well formed and developed. You know them well by the end of the book and want to meet them again. The complexity of the crime keeps interest high. A really good read and the start of a friendship.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Montalbano arrives, 25 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
The best part of Camilleri's Montalbano policiers is the writing. Witty, concise, ensemble pieces which critique Italian society and give an airing to some of Camilleri's apparent betes-noirs. Notice how often the villain is a doctor, for instance.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Translation into English, 5 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
There is obviously a new translator from Italian to English . Compared to all the other Montalbano books the translation is not neaqrly so good and fluent. The book itself however - excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... as the crime solving ( and Salvo is so good at that ) it gives a glimpse into the ..., 21 July 2014
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
This book was well written insightful and as well as the crime solving ( and Salvo is so good at that ) it gives a glimpse into the soul of a Character who loves his job but cares as much where he works and where he lives because he knows he does his job much better when he is happily settled and can enjoy his early morning swim before diving into his daily investigations. Countryside and mountains just don't do it for Salvo
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4.0 out of 5 stars Setting the scene, 21 July 2014
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This review is from: Montalbano's First Case (Kindle Edition)
Short but enjoyable. Sets the scene for later books by introducing key characters, the man himself and the things that he finds important. Shows the methods he uses to solve cases ( and where he learned them) and the context in which he operates. Last, but no means least, it is an interesting puzzle for Montelbano to solve.
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Montalbano's First Case by Andrea Camilleri
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