Review of Riccardino by Andrea Camilleri
Reading Montalbano novels has been a 20 year activity for me, and always something to look forward to, so reaching the end is a sad occasion. This has been my favorite mystery series by far of the half dozen or so that I’ve read, and I’m sure many others feel the same way.
So … why the 3-star rating?
What I liked about the novel:
- A murder with plenty of suspects.
- Suspects who are well drawn and interesting.
- Corruption and greed at the heart of the matter.
- Good, sometimes laugh-out-loud, humor.
What I didn’t like, especially since the novel was explicitly written as the final in the series:
- Missing characters: Augello, Adelina, Dr. Pasquano, Ingrid (who has been MIA for quite a while).
- Very little food, and nothing that hasn’t appeared before.
- The ‘Author’ (more on this below).
I have some of the same objections to this novel that I had to The Dance of the Seagull: the self referential use of ‘The Author’ and references to the TV series simply make it seem that Camilleri is not taking his own work seriously. Having said that, I think there was more justification for that in this book than in the previous: here, Camilleri is deliberately separating himself from his character; a kind of forced farewell. And also here, the use of ‘The Author’ allows for the unique way in which the novel and series end. But the ending, no matter how innovative, is unsatisfying, much like the ending to HBO’s The Sopranos.
Thrughout the series Camilleri maintained his integrity as a writer and as a native of Sicily and a citizen of Italy. His disdain and hatred of the mafia was a constant, as well as his contempt for the political class, and his empathy, compassion, and solidarity with working people. He created engaging characters and a fully formed world in Vigata. And he continued producing firstrate novels after completing Riccardino despite advancing years, poor health, and blindness. I am grateful for that.
- Title: Riccardino
- Author: Andrea Camilleri
- Published: 2020
- ISBN: 8838940754
- Pages: 292
- Category: Fiction
- Rating: 3 stars