cover image The Safety Net

The Safety Net

Andrea Camilleri, trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin, $16 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-14-313496-1

Bestseller Camilleri’s 25th outing for Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2019’s The Other End of the Line) offers a rich, nuanced mix of plot elements. Besides looking into a mysterious but nonfatal terror attack on a school, Montalbano has an unsought but unshakable obsession with a strange series of home movies belonging to a local resident with a tragic family history. The films show nothing but the same piece of a crumbling wall, each year from 1958 to 1963. He must also deal with a Swedish TV production that’s taken over his Sicilian town of Vigàta and made everything look as it did in the 1950s. The rhythms and layers of the aging detective’s thoughts, routines, and speech are droll and subtle, and fans will be attuned to Montalbano’s attempt to reckon with a serious past mistake. As the cases conclude, with none of the resolutions showing up on official records, readers will feel a pang of loss that this may be one of the last visits they’ll have from an old, wise friend. Camilleri died in 2019, having completed several books for posthumous publication. [em]Agent: Carmen Prestia, Alferjeprestia (Italy). (Mar.) [/em]