August Heat: An Inspector Montalbano Mystery

Andrea Camilleri, Author, Stephen Sartarelli, Translator , trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin $14 (278p) ISBN 978-0-14-311405-5

Camilleri’s 10th mystery to feature Sicilian Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2008’s Paper Moon ) cleverly balances a compelling story line with engaging characters. Urged by his girlfriend, Livia, to find a summer rental for a friend of hers in Vigàta, Montalbano ends up selecting a house with a tainted past. The man who built the house died in a fall soon after its construction, and his 20-year-old stepson, Ralf Gudrun, vanished. After the young son of Livia’s friend disappears, Montalbano finds the missing boy, essentially unharmed, but in the process stumbles upon a corpse, later identified as that of an attractive 16-year-old girl who disappeared six years earlier. Suspects include a real estate developer with unhealthy sexual appetites as well as the missing Gudrun. While the solution is less complicated than, say, those Peter Lovesey provides for his similar series sleuth, Peter Diamond, the humor and humanity of Montalbano make him an equally winning lead character. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/26/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
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