Blade of Light

by Andrea Camilleri

It is always a joy to read an Inspector Montalbano story.  The translation flows beautifully, and the story follows a recognised format: a dream at the beginning, from which Montalbano is awakened by a frantic phone call, usually from Catarella; Montalbano taking a long lunch break with each course described, as are his meals at home prepared by his housekeeper Adelina; a Mafia element in the crime; the assistance of Salvo’s friend Niccolo Zito in bringing to light new evidence via a carefully ‘planted’ news item.

In this story, the young Tunisian whom Salvo and Livia almost adopted as a young runaway has turned to terrorist politics, and Montalbano has the distressing duty to attend the scene of his death, at the end of an involved but believable story of murder, deception and ideals.

Bored from Bishops Cleeve library, which I am happy to say has plenty more Montalbano thrillers.  As has my aunt Wendy, and my friend Pat.


The Paper Moon

by Andrea Camilleri

Not one of his best.  A later book about Inspector Montalbano, in which he seems preoccupied with his own ageing and perceived reduction in his mental and physical capacity.  Of course, Montalbano solves the mystery eventually.  But the first half of the book seems to go nowhere at all, as Montalbano looks for a suspicious and involved reason for what on the face of it is a straightforward murder.  Of course, he is right – but it was a painful process keeping my attention to the end!

The Shape of Water

by Andrea Camilleri

What can I say?  Camilleri’s stories of Inspector Montalbano are very readable, the English translation – once you get used to the colloquialisms – is a joy, and, as far as I can tell, conveys well the slightly idiosyncratic language of the original.  I can’t remember – writing this three months on – what this story was about.  But it doesn’t matter.  Like the TV series, the joy is in the moment, as you experience the story, its characters and the Sicilian setting.

Excursion to Tindari

by Andrea Camilleri

This was the first of the Inspector Montalbano books that I have read, in English. I have struggled with short sections of some of the stories in Italian, and even with my limited grasp of the language, I relished Camilleri’s inventive use of language and especially his humour.

The translation takes some getting used to at first, but after a while you see that the translator manages to capture quite effectively some of the linguistic tricks, with a light touch. He also provides an effective glossary and notes – though I only discovered this after I finished the book!

I can honestly say that reading this story was as much fun as watching a Montalbano story on TV. I am returning to the TV films with renewed enthusiasm,    and I’ll be reading more of Camilleri – in English, at least.