Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I have just finished reading The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri.

This is the second Inspector Salvo Montalbano book I have read [The Snack Thief was the first] and I enjoyed it immensely.
I think Shape was the first in the series so I have read them out of order, but this did not matter in this case.

Of course you have to get used to the unconventional methods used by Montalbano as he negotiates his way through a complicated web of politicos, drug dealers, immigration problems, and prostitutes, with tactics that bear little or no resemblance to British policing methods.

The charming Italian is no Morse, Dalgeish, Banks or Wexford, he is a far more balanced character who would far rather enjoy a plate of baby octopus than rush off to solve a case.
But then this is Sicily not Oxford, Yorkshire or the Home Counties although Montalbano's superiors and the local bigwigs are the same as all over the world, obstructive.

Sometimes in Italian crime mysteries the crimes solve themselves, or the perpetrators are not brought to justice, but that is all part of the charm of Italy.

Andrea Camilleri has created a great detective in an interesting setting, and I note he lives in Rome well away from the some of the nasty characters he has created.

I shall read more of Salvo Montalbano, and his long suffering mistress Livia, in the future.
Rating 4 out of 5


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oops. I should have posted by comments about Italian crime novels here. If I'd scrolled down this far in your blog, it would have removed my doubts about how to spell Andrea Camilleri's last name.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,
nice blog!

I have a couple of comments for this post:

1. I am a sicilian living in Rome. I also lived in London for almost two years (and worked as an health care professional too). Well, I think London is the most dangerous place (in terms of criminality) where I 've ever been, and I wouldn't say that perpetrators are ususally brought to justice there. So, why isn't that part of the charm of England?

2. You noted that Camilleri lives well away from his nasty characters, since he lives in Rome. I would say he lives well away because his characters are fictional, if they were not, they would be anywhere in the world (i.e. in Rome too).

Those were two simple remarks, congratulations again with your nice blog!

6:53 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks anon for your kind comments about my blog.
The Sicilian Feast was one of my early posts, and I had not read as much Italian crime fiction back then.
Despite the fact that this week there has been the tragic death of a policeman during crowd trouble at the Palermo-Catania football match in my experience I have to entirely agree with you.
I am a Londoner, but have not lived there for nearly 20 years. On my rare visits I do feel more worried about crime than any other large city I have visited, but I think that is due to the lack of a police presence on the streets.
Here in Exeter we had an armed robbery in the very centre of the city this week, and of course at Branscombe beach we had scavengers stealing from the Napoli cargo.
It is almost as if law and order are on the verge of collapse in England.
I have to admit what may appear charming in Sicily, or Bari, or Bologna, is not so pleasant on right on your doorstep.

11:03 AM  

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