cover image The Other End of the Line

The Other End of the Line

Andrea Camillieri, trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin, $16 t

The dramatic 24th series novel from bestseller Camillieri (after The Overnight Kidnapper) finds Insp. Salvo Montalbano and his team at their breaking point as they deal with hundreds of refugees pouring into the Sicilian town of Vigàta in barely seaworthy boats from North Africa. Their duties include shepherding new arrivals for processing and solving horrible crimes committed during harrowing journeys. Meanwhile, Montalbano’s girlfriend, Livia, chides him into getting a new suit for a celebration friends of hers are putting on for their 25th wedding anniversary. Elena, the tailor who’s making the suit, unexpectedly captivates him. Elena’s subsequent murder gives the world-weary detective a terrible puzzle to solve amid the larger crisis. As usual, Montalbano seeks solace in good food and ruminative walks. Scenes set at the station house, rich with Sicilian dialect, provide just the rich amount of comic relief. The multilayered plot seizes the reader’s imagination as much as it engages Montalbano’s keen detective instincts. Fans will hope this long-running series never ends. Agent: Carmen Prestia, Alferjeprestia (Italy). (Sept.)