The creator of the irascible yet endearing Sicilian police chief Salvo Montalbano, Andrea Camilleri was an Italian crime writer whose engrossing novels are bathed in an evocative Mediterranean glow. Born on the island that he would celebrate so frequently in his fiction, Camilleri’s background was in the theatre, where he enjoyed a long and distinguished career directing and adapting works by Luigi Pirandello and Samuel Beckett. During this period he also turned his hand to screenwriting, but it was prose fiction that would make him a household name in his native Italy and, later, around the world.
After two false starts, his third novel The Hunting Season became a bestseller in 1992, when Camilleri was in his late 60s. Two years later he crafted the first Inspector Montalbano novel, The Shape of Water, set in his beloved Sicily and retaining much of the distinctive regional dialect of the island. The series became phenomenally successful in Italy, dwarfing the sales of Camilleri’s closest rivals. Subsequently, the books became a worldwide hit, dramatically boosting Sicilian tourism and enjoying a similarly popular television adaptation. By the time of his death in July 2019, the series numbered 27 titles, some still awaiting translation into English.
The 24th Inspector Montalbano novel finds our beloved Salvo investigating the grisly death of a local dressmaker amid a burgeoning migrant crisis on the Sicilian shore. As consistently gripping and evocative as ever, Camilleri’s latest sings with Sicilian dialect and meticulous, fast-paced plotting. A must read for all lovers of continental crime.