Last week in the UK a small child was savaged to death by a pit bull terrier, and by some accounts the owner had convictions for drug offences.
A writer in the Telegraph, I forget who, pointed it out as an example of the casual brutality and criminality of "our feral underclass".
In Andrea Camilleri's books we frequently read about the underclass, but it is the indifference and ruthless brutality of many of the "overclass" that is the crux of his stories. He certainly feels that Montalbano, Augello, Catarella and the rest of the team are in that middle ground trying to protect us the "silent majority".
In Excursion to Tindari Camilleri does not pull any punches, and it is the stark contrast between all the humour, and the heartless "real world" that makes this such a good novel.
Salvo Montalbano is investigating the murder of Nene Sanfillippo, a twenty year old "with too much money in his pockets, and who brought a different woman home every other night".
The Griffos a grumpy elderly couple have disappeared, while they were on an excursion to the shrine at Tindari, and because they lived in the same building as Nene Montalbano suspects some connection.
Meanwhile Don Balduccio Sinagra, the old style local Mafia don, is concerned about his grandson who is on the run from both the police and rival new style Mafia gangs.
Montalbano has to work out a scheme to prevent Mimi Augello leaving his team to live with his new fiance who works in Pavia, while also trying to work out who is the beautiful older lover of young Nene featured in some pornographic videotapes.
The cocktail is stirred and shaken with accounts of Montalbano's relationships with his superiors, his team, his lover Livia in Genoa, his friend Ingrid and most importantly his stomach.
When Salvo solves all the interlocking puzzles it comes as a minor shock to find out that beneath the glitz, caponata, seafood, and shine his world like ours is a very sad place.
Caponata- a zesty traditional southern-Italian dish often served as an appetizer or side dish, made up of sauteed aubergine, tomato, green pepper, garlic, onion, celery, black olives, vinegar, olive oil and anchovies.