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The Paper Moon

Andrea Camilleri, Author, Stephen Sartarelli, Translator
Andrea Camilleri, Author, Stephen Sartarelli, Translator , trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin $13 (264p) ISBN 978-0-14-311300-3
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At the start of Camilleri’s wry ninth Insp. Salvo Montalbano procedural (after 2007’s The Patience of the Spider ), the irascible detective is hoping for a quiet day at his Vigàta office when a visitor, the beguiling Michela Pardo, implores him to help her track down her missing brother, Angelo. Montalbano accompanies Michela to Angelo’s apartment, where they find her brother’s gunshot-blasted corpse in a compromising position. Montalbano later discovers a possible link between the murder and a series of drug overdoses whose victims include a popular senator. Angelo’s affair with a professor’s attractive wife offers another avenue of inquiry, but one that gets complicated when the inspector begins to fall in love with the suspect. Humor, much of it provided by Montalbano’s eccentric colleagues, leavens the noirish story line, and the solution to the central puzzle is both psychologically plausible and intellectually satisfying. The crisp prose is a pleasure to read, and a last-minute twist a testament to the author’s artistry. (Mar.)

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