An OK murder mystery highlighting the rivalry and antagonisms between the carabinieri and the regular police, and the pervasive influence of the mafia and their collaboration with government officials. This is a short novella at 80 pages; just long enough, as it happens, to have been the basis for one of the episodes of the Montalbano TV series. One unique aspect of this story, in the context of the Montalbano series, is that Catarella is given a starring role, with Fazio and Augello relegated to brief walk-on appearances.
One oddity: in most of the series Montalbano practically swoons at the dishes left for him by his housekeeper Adelina. But in this one Adelina is described as barely a housekeeper who doesn’t leave him anything worth eating. This just doesn’t fit: he hired Adelina in the first place because of her delicious arancini, and is always describing the amazing things she has left for him in the refrigerator, or in the oven to keep warm.
Unfortunately, the Kindle edition of this book was pretty awful: lots of typos, misspellings, a generally awkward translation, and a general feeling of having been thrown together to make a few bucks. If you are a fan of the Montalbano series I do not recommend that you buy the Kindle edition: better to avoid the book altogether, since it adds little to the series.