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4.0 out of 5 stars The Ninth Inspector Montalbano Mystery - La Luna di Carta - The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri, 13 July 2008
This review is from: The Paper Moon (Inspector Montalbano mysteries) (Hardcover)
Inspector Montalbano wakes this time not by his inner alarm clock but from one he now sets each night to wake him prompt each morning. His usual slapstick routine of starting the day had fallen by the wayside, irrelevant random thoughts had been plaguing his mind, with a touch of forgetfulness, tiredness and that feeling of age had suddenly creep upon him.

Within ten minutes of being at the station Montalbano is confronted by Signorina. Michela Pardo who cannot locate her brother Angelo, he may have been forty-two but had been missing for some forty eight hours and would always call when away. After a few questions and being won over by Michela's deep, violet lake eyes he was willing to check out her brother's apartment. Montalbano stumbles into a gruesome situation on Angelo's terrace, a man shot at point blank range in the face presented in a rather lewd position.

As things begin to unfold Angelo Pardo the victim was certainly appearing to be no saint. A former doctor struck off the Medical Association ten years earlier after indecent relations with a female patient. Montalbano also had suspicions and doubts about Angelo's job as a medical/pharmaceutical `Informer' and the wealth that seemed to go with it, not only was he lacking a bank account, the money had instead been spent on lavish expensive gifts for his mistress. Then there was Angelo's computer, three files protected by passwords and within secret codes were used! What for? Threatening letters had been found but a strongbox Angelo kept was missing. Montalbano sized up possible motives female entanglements or shady influence in the medical profession with plenty of suspects past and present to go with both, or was it something else? While Montalbano's faithful team cracked codes and follow all other leads including a political one, Montalbano on the other hand was looking for trouble and decided his line of enquiry, presence was best felt with the ladies.

Andrea Camilleri has done wonders with the character Inspector Salvo Montalbano over the years, always in hot water with female trouble, his moods dark, aging but not lacking in sophistication and charm it just melts right off the pages. In this book Montalbano wits become changellened against the leading ladies Michela Pardo and Elena Sclafani but its Montalbano inner thoughts about these two which adds to the comedy. His team follow him as he leadeth them into temptation; always using his unorthodox route to get an answer, meanwhile the description of a chaotic police station always cracks me with a smile. The whole series has a timeless feel, for any thinking of starting to read they clearly deserve to be read from the beginning.

Camilleri has written a wonderful Montalbano Mystery series, this book is the ninth in the series and again he doesn't disappoint. All Montalbano mysteries start in comedy but end in horror or melodrama but its all done with lots of human interest in every plot. This novel I found to start slower than others but it soon picked up pace and again the ending was a gem with its darker twists. What I love about this whole series would be the characterisation and language the usage of dialogue in conversation, directness, it's all been kept real with sharp dry wit and ironic comedy moments, the sly comments on Italian life and culture keeps things amusing and interesting. A big also for me is the passion for great flavoured foods, all the dishes in these books are mouth-watering and endless, described so vividly you can almost taste them.

This is also where I bring in my special thank you to poet Stephen Sartarelli who has translated each book smoothly and clearly managing to keep its humour throughout and for the informative notes given at the back on wording, I would also say notes are always advised to be read before reading the novels.

Another thoroughly enjoyable read in the series.

Andrea Bowhill
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Initial post: 14 Jul 2008 14:21:33 BDT
Books In Order for those starting the series

1) The Shape of Water
2) The Terracotta Dog
3) The Snack Thief
4) The Voice of the Violin
5) Excursion to Tindari
6) The Smell of the Night (UK Under The Scent of the Night)
7) Rounding The Mark
8) The Patience of the Spider
9) The Paper Moon
10) August Heat - 2009 no fixed date yet.

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Location: England

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