I’m just going to write a short note about Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri because it’s a library book and I’m going to return it this afternoon in one of my last trips to my local library.
This is the fifth Inspector Montalbano mystery but the first one I’ve read. My impression of the book as a whole is that it is well constructed, with plenty of colourful characters, and the mystery kept me guessing to the end. Montalbano investigates the death of a young man, Nene Sanfilippo and the disappearance of an elderly couple, the Griffos. They had lived in the same apartment building, but at first this seems to be merely a coincidence. Montalbano is soon plunged into the dangerous world of Sciliy’s “New Mafia”. (This much is revealed on the back cover).
I particularly liked the way Montalbano’s thoughts are revealed and his relationship with his bosses. He’s another detective who works well on his own and with his own team independently of his superiors. He loves food and there are various desciptions of the meals he savours with great relish. He is also a bit of a philosopher – sitting in an old olive tree whilst musing on life and his work:
Straddling one of the lower branches, he would light a cigarette and begin to reflect on problems in need of resolution.
He had discovered that, in some mysterious way, the entanglement, contortion, overlapping, in short, the labyrinth of branches, almost mimetically mirrored what was happening inside his head, the intertwining hypotheses and accumulating arguments. And if some conjecture happened to seem at first too reckless or rash, the sight of a branch tracing an even more far-fetched path than his thought would reassure him and allow him to proceed.
Ensconced among the silvery-green leaves, he could stay there for hours without moving. (pages 99 – 100)
At times this book reads like a comedy, with some of the police talking in dialect before plunging back into the dark criminal world. I couldn’t work out what was behind the crimes at all, which for me was immensely satisfying. When you can see the end coming chapters away and have worked out who “did it” I sometimes feel let down – not so with this book.