I have finished reading The Scent of the Night and do not have another Camilleri on my bookshelf to read. If I had not just eaten a delicious meal of haddock baked in a parcel, with capers and courgette, I would be feeling even more distraught.
I read this book very quickly because firstly it is another excellent crime novel and secondly because the main family TV is away for repair. I realise how much valuable reading time I waste watching crime shows, news programs, and political discussions. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which program is which, but for the fact that the fictional criminals look more honest than the real life politicians.
Camilleri's successful formula is repeated once again with charm, humour and wit. Mimi Augello philanders even while waiting to marry, Catarella rushes around mangling his words, Fazio works hard like a classy guy and Commissioner Bonnetti-Alderighi loses his cool with Montalbano.
And "liccu cannarutu" Salvo Montalbano investigates, while carrying on with some difficulty his long range, and long term relationship with Livia.
When octogenarian Salvatore Garzullo realises he has, like many of Vigata's naive citizens, been swindled out of his savings by ragionere Emanuele Gargano, he takes action and holds the financial adviser's secretary hostage.
[A ragionere is someone who holds a degree in ragioneria the study of business administration and accounting]
Mariastella Cosentino the fiftyish homely secretary does not believe Gargano has perpetrated a simple fraud and thinks he has had an accident. When Montalbano and his trusty team are told to take a secondary role, and defer to the fraud expert Inspector Guarnotta we know it will merely encourage them to pursue a "private" investigation.
The other members of Gargano's office are the beautiful young Michela, and a young assistant Giacomo Pellegrino. When Montalbano discovers that Pellegrino has also disappeared, and Michela informs him about the relationships in the office he begins to form a theory. Guarnotta meanwhile has decided the Mafia are involved, but Montalbano is not convinced as mafiosi are surely too shrewd to fall for a financial scam.
With Mimi Augello seducing Michela, and Montalbano's favourite Saracen Tree cut down to make way for a house the investigation meanders along until Salvo Montalbano surprisingly finds himself living in a short story by William Faulkner.
liccu cannarutu: gourmand and glutton
pasta 'ncasciata: one of the many forms of southern Italian pasta al forno, that is, a casserole of oven baked pasta and other ingredients. Pasta 'ncasciata generally contains small macaroni, tuma or caciocavallo cheese, ground beef, mortadella or salami, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, aubergine, grated Pecorino cheese, basil, olive oil and a splash of white wine.
William Faulkner born New Albany, Mississippi in 1897, he wrote among other works As I Lay Dying, and The Wild Palms. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.