Saturday, January 20, 2007


Peter over at the always readable Detectives Beyond Borders referred to me as a Montalbano Nut!

Examining the character of the Sicilian detective, and his creator Andrea Camilleri I regard this as a very high compliment.

The more I read through the series the more I find myself identifying myself with Salvo, and he is becoming more and more like a close friend. PerhapsMontalbano is not as secure a personality as Guido Brunetti, who has a seemingly perfect life in beautiful Venice, and that makes Salvo that little bit more believable and human.

Montalbano seems to be travelling that familiar path from a caring almost naive liberal to a pragmatic realist. He is frequently brought to that harsh realism by the dreadful crimes he has to investigate.

Those of us who reached adulthood in the 1960's hoped for a better society in the future. Unfortunately in achieving some of those ideals, and trying reaching that liberal utopia we have unleashed terrible problems.

Montalbano is forced to do things that are not in the modern police manual, sometimes he is more Guantanimo than Gandhi. But it is clear that he enjoys giving some very nasty people a bit of their own medicine. That and his love of seafood makes him someone I can feel empathy with as he struggles with his conscience.

He is certainly a more sympathetic character than the British detectives, Rebus, Banks and Morse, and the enigmatic Scandinavians, Beck and Wallander.

One of the real charms of the Montalbano books is his relationships with his team, and especially the complete loyalty he inspires.

The contrasting characters are very clearly drawn; Favio, the reliable cop, the childlike, devoted Catarella, and the smooth young womaniser Mimi Augello, all become vital cogs in the team as the series progresses.

And of course there is his unofficial helper, the beautiful Swedish ex-racing driver Ingrid. Her relationship with Montalbano adds that "will he, won't he", be unfaithful to girl friend Livia in Genoa, spice to the mix.

I have to declare that Camilleri's creation is definitely my favourite detective at present.


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