A Nest of Vipers

Andrea Camilleri, trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin, $16 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-14-312665-2

That prosperous accountant Cosimo Barletta—the initial murder victim in bestseller Camilleri’s entertaining 21st mystery featuring Sicily’s Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2016’s A Voice in the Night)—was both shot and poisoned is only one of the troubling wrinkles in a case that pulls Montalbano in a little deeper than he expected. Revelations of Barletta’s ugly techniques for his womanizing, a trove of sleazy photographs of his conquests, a slew of business enemies, and two scheming adult children make for a long list of suspects, but long experience steers Montalbano to an especially upsetting solution in which Barletta is not the only victim. There are deft touches that make the inspector a winning lead, from his argumentative love life and his fixation with good food to his bemused observations on Sicilian speech and culture. Camilleri blends a locked-room mystery with a vivid sense of setting and an appealing cast of supporting characters. [em]Agent: Donatella Barbieri, Agenzia Letteraria Internazionale (Italy). (Aug.) [/em]