Sunday, March 11, 2007

BOOK: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

The First Inspector Montalbano Mystery
a novel of food, wine and homicide in small-town Sicily

I picked up another book by Camilleri (The Voice of the Violin) on the $5 table at Indigos and took it with me on my trip to Italy last summer. It was a great read - cranky Inspector Montalbano, twisty mystery and of course the setting. I love to find a good mystery series that has several other books already written; it makes going to the library easier. This book will be for the Reading Across Borders Challenge as well, but I'll probably get another of these, so I'm not really expanding my reading by settling into a series. However, I greatly enjoy the setting of Sicily and the politics of Italian bureaucracy as well as the mystery.
Montalbano is a flawed main character; he goes outside the law if he feels he needs to, he has little patience for many of his colleagues, his love life is complicated and he is quite selfish. But, he is also very loyal to his friends, reads people well, and is very smart at solving mysteries.
My view of Italy as a place where there are many layers of government and trying to get things done without red tape is difficult has not been altered by these books. Montalbano has to go through many people while solving a case and it is difficult to keep track, as we wouldn't have the corresponding bureaucracy. But that is part of the fun as Montalbano has to go around certain people to accomplish things.
Great read; bring on more Salvo Montalbano.