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Customer Review

on 30 April 2012
This is the thirteenth in Camilleri's Montalbano series. It's also the best. Not because the plot is notably better than the others but because Camilleri has ramped up his use of scathing dry humour. A notable example is Montalbano's rant at the Commissioner when be utters a statement crafted almost entirely from the titles of Dostoyevsky novels. 'Had the Commissioner noticed? Of course not! The man was ignorant as a goat'.

It's clear that during the writing of this book, Camilleri's mood alternated between productive days (when he moves the plot forward) and witty days when he focuses on crafting sharp dialogue and dry one-liners. At times (particularly the first few pages of Chapter 5), the narrative is painfully funny and I was tempted to award a spiteful single star because I'd been laughing so much that it was beginning to hurt.

Camilleri brings a warts-and-all Sicily to vibrant, colourful and fragrant life in much the same way that James Lee Burke achieves for southern Louisiana. It's therefore a source of dismay that, unlike Burke, Camilleri chooses to adopt largely fictitious place names. This deprives the reader the opportunity of enjoying a memorable week retracing Montalbano's footsteps. The Author's concluding note contains the depressing phrase 'As is obvious, the names of .... streets, hotels etc are entirely fictitious and make no reference to reality'. What a shame.

But read the book anyway. It's a treat.
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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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