Half the fun of reading a mystery by the late Andrea Camilleri is watching his detective, Inspector Salvo Montalbano of the Sicilian police, as he bluffs, breaks rules or even flat-out lies for justice’s sake ... [Camilleri has a] gift for dialogue reflects that background. He was also lucky enough to find a fine translator, the American poet Stephen Sartarelli, who is especially good at rendering Sicilian dialect and general verbal muddle in English ... for anyone who likes mysteries with good plotting and characterization, vivid local color, and sparkling language, the Montalbano series is azackly right.
The twenty-third book in this Penguin series provides a pleasant reading experience equal in every respect to the preceding twenty-two. One might expect some diminution in energy or appeal from such a prolific writer, but the faithful reader will not be disappointed. Old, blind and addicted to cigarettes, Camilleri is nonetheless on his game and in fine form ... At times vindictive, often tender-hearted and always rigidly dedicated to seeing justice done, [Montalbano] is a joy to behold in action. Loving the author’s books is as much about loving Montalbano as the stories themselves ... For one who has witnessed every type of violence and cruelty, Montalbano remarkably retains a tender heart and real sympathy for all those negatively impacted by all this strife. Of course, he solves the crime, but in typical Camilleri fashion, the outcome is left only partially resolved. A confection for any whodunit lover.
Along with his customary posse, and Elena’s orphaned cat, Montalbano relies on his extraordinary, at times mystical, talents—and, despite a few of his customary blunders, identifies the killer. A witty and well-crafted addition to Camilleri’s oeuvre.
Scenes set at the station house, rich with Sicilian dialect, provide just the rich amount of comic relief. The multilayered plot seizes the reader’s imagination as much as it engages Montalbano’s keen detective instincts. Fans will hope this long-running series never ends.