cover image The Overnight Kidnapper

The Overnight Kidnapper

Andrea Camilleri, trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin, $16 tr

Two women are abducted, held overnight, and released without harm or ransom demands, stumping Sicily’s Insp. Salvo Montalbano and his colleagues, in bestseller Camilleri’s welcome 23rd novel featuring the world-weary policeman (after 2018’s The Pyramid of Mud). They discover that the first two victims—and then a third—are all low-level bank employees, but otherwise make little progress. Meanwhile, they must look into an arson case and the disappearance of the torched shop’s owner. The stakes rise as the cases intertwine and two bodies turn up. Montalbano punctuates his deductions with wry observations and classical allusions; he follows his frequent lunches at Enzo’s trattoria by seaside walks where he gets his best thinking done. The aging detective’s insights into the darker side of human nature allow him to cut through the red herrings as the action builds to a crisp, decisive ending. The Sicilian dialect of the police station’s switchboard operator, as rendered in Sartarelli’s adept translation, provides comic relief. Camilleri fans are in for a treat. [em]Agent: Carmen Prestia, Alferjeprestia (Italy). (Feb.) [/em]