Sunday, March 29, 2009

BOOK: Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri

Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri, 286 pages
translated by Stephen Sartarelli

continuing mystery series review questions

Give a brief summary of the book:
A young man is found killed outside his apartment building; an elderly couple, who happen to live in the same building, are missing after taking a sudden trip to a religious shrine in Tindari. Mimi is engaged to be married and is planning to transfer away from Vigata. And in Sicily, the mafia is always around the corner with their finger in everything.

The setting and the food of southern Italy are fantastic; the metaphors Camilleri used for Inspector Salvo to solve his case as he lay under a Saracen olive tree; silly Catarelli, who mangles the language but can use a computer to help Salvo, provides comic relief; the endnotes by Sartarelli added to the story greatly as he explained how he translated some words to keep the meaning that Camilleri meant, including puns or plays on words that really need to be explained to keep the meaning; the mystery.

Inspector Salvo Montalbano is sexist and manipulative of his friends and is not nice to his girlfriend at all - is it an Italian cultural thing or is Montalbano particularly crude? But he inspires great loyalty from his friends and colleagues regardless.

Additional Thoughts:
Camilleri writes a nice little mystery and gives a great sense of place. The books are not completely dependent on each other to read, but some of the characters appear without a lot of their backstory. I always prefer to read in order, but it would still be good.


  1. I've enjoyed all the elements in this book you liked through the whole Montalbano series- the food, Catarella, the language and the mysteries.

    I don't think Salvo is sexist or manipulative of his friends- he is a bit gruff but the sparring in his relationships with Livia, Fazio and Mimi is never really hurtful and always returned! If you read more in the series, I think you'd get a fairer picture of the characters.

    Salvo is forthright and down to earth, both because hs is a Sicilan and a detective and because it's just who he is. All part of the fun (for me at least).

  2. I still really like the books, but Salvo sleeps around on Livia, even after trying to patch it up with her. He only seems to want to pay any attention to Livia when it is convenient to him, not if she has any concern. He goes weeks without calling her unless he wants something.
    He tried to break up Mimi's engagement because he doesn't want him to move - sets him up with a beautiful woman and then encouraged him to get together with him.
    Maybe I just noticed it more in this book, but I thought he was more selfish than usual in this book.

  3. I really liked the way you reviewed this book!! Sounds like it would be a good mystery series!

  4. This does sound like a good mystery series and I'm adding the author to my TBR list. Great review!

  5. I don't think Salvo does sleep around on Livia- he has female friends and meets women who try to seduce him, but I thought he's always resisted temptation. I'll have to dig out my copy of Excursion to check. I don't know how I missed that!


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