Finally! Montalbano is back, and so is Camilleri, with writing as sharp and compressed as any in this series. No more of the self-referential nonsense that plagued a couple of the recent episodes, and Montalbano has snapped out of the self-pity old-man routine, mostly. This is not the same Montalbano character as in the earliest of the novels: most of the rough edges have been knocked off and worn down, but he still has the focus and sense of justice that made him an admirable character from the start, even when he was being arbitrary and unreasonable.
Bombs are exploding in front of empty warehouses, a beautiful neighbor is making a transparent effort to publicly seduce Montalbano, and anonymous letters are arriving. Something is surely afoot, but nobody knows which way to look in the hall of mirrors. Fazio and Montalbano eventually penetrate the fog of deception and misdirection, but too late for some of the players.
Most of the usual cast make an appearance: Livia (by long distance), Adelina and her son, Fazio, Augello, Gallo, Arqua, Pasquano, and Tommaseo. And the food is mostly the usual: arancini, pasta nero, pasta ’ncasciata, grilled fish, etc. But there are two additions worth checking out: sartù di riso alla calabrisa and pasta alla carrettiera.
Stephen Sartarelli’s translation is excellent, as always. And Penguin has done their usual excellent job: good typography and layout, a tight perfect-bound paperback, and excellent cover art.