Rounding The Mark begins with Salvo Montalbano about to resign over the treatment of protesters at the G8 meeting in Genoa, July 2001.
But before he can see the Commissioner he goes swimming, and as luck would have it he meets a floating deadbody, which he tows ashore. This incident ends with the Inspector naked on the beach and having his head cracked with an iron bar.
This is only the start of his troubles as next a group of illegal immigrants are being escorted off a boat at the dockside, while Montalbano is delivering spare spectacles to Deputy Commissioner Riguccio. A little black African boy runs away but Montalbano retrieves him, and returns him to his mother.
Montalbano is very disturbed by the way the boy raises his hands in a gesture of surrender similar to the scene in the old wartime photo in Poland of a little Jewish boy raising his arms in front of Nazi soldiers. He is even more disturbed the next day when the boy is found dead, the victim of a hit and run driver.
As Favio and Catarella try to discover the identity of the dead swimmer, Montalbano investigates the boy's death and realises the terrible truth about the illegal traffic in immigrant children.
The two investigations begin to converge, and Camilleri does not pull his punches in his criticisms of the disgusting criminals, who perpetuate a modern slave trade. Once agin Montalbano has to enrol the driving skills of Swedish beauty Ingrid, the reliabilty of Favio, the simple intuition of Catarella and some tough methods of his own to bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion.
"Government may as well send quaker meeting-houses to float this sea....." William Eaton, US consul to Tunis
Octopus a strascinasali: consists of small octopi (polipetti in Italian, purpiteddi or frajeddi in Sicilian) simply boiled in salted water, then dressed in olive oil, and lemon juice.