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.
I went to the library yesterday and borrowed just four books. As we’re moving house at the end of November I may be able to read these in time. In fact I only have one week to read Dewey: the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. I only have one week because this is part of the library’s “Top Ten Best Sellers” and cannot be renewed.
I first read about this book last year when many book bloggers were writing about how good it is. As Dewey is a ginger cat and a library cat how could I resist borrowing this book. (Our own little ginger cat Lucy also loves books, always rubbing her head round the piles of books lying around the house and trying to read the one I’m reading!) Dewey dropped into the library returns box as a tiny kitten grows into “a strutting adorable library cat whose antics kept patrons in stitches, and whose sixth sense about those in need created hundreds of deep and loving friendships.”
The next book I found is Excursion to Tindari, an Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri. “A young Don Juan is found murdered in front of his apartment building early one morning and an elderly couple are reported missing after an excursion to the ancienmt site of Tindari “. I haven’t read anything by Camilleri but I thought this looked good. The praise on the back cover from The Times is “A joy to read”, whilst the NewYork Times calls it a “savagely funny police procedural”.
Moving along the shelves I came across Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. I borrowed this because I loved Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. Pigs in Heaven is apparently “a spellbinding novel of heartbreak, love and complicated family ties.”
My final choice is Shakespeare: the World as a Stage by Bill Bryson. I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Bryson and I love Shakespeare, so this was an easy choice. Bryson wanted to know more about Shakespeare because the records reveal little about him. “In a journey through Shakespeare’s time, he brings to life the hubbub of Elizabethan England and a host of characters along the way. Bryson celebrates the glory of Shakespeare’s language – his ceaseless inventiveness gave us hundreds of now indispensable phrases, images and words – and delights in details of his fall-outs and folios, poetry and plays.” I thought it would complement 1599: a year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro, which I’ve started to read.
The only question now is – will I have time to read these?
Note: the quotations are from the back covers of the books.