This is a straight-up Montalbano story without the self-referential nonsense that has marred some of the recent books in the Montalbano series. It is as if by writing about the early Montalbano, Camilleri was able to regain the direct freshness of the earlier novels.
Montalbano has just received his promotion to inspector and transferred to Vigata, much to his delight. And already he has his fine sense of justice which sometimes causes him to bend the rules beyond all recognition. And he has begun to develop the irascibility and impatience that were so entertaining in the early novels.
So overall this is a fine prequel and an excellent addition to the Montalbano series.