cover image The Cook of the Halcyon

The Cook of the Halcyon

Andrea Camilleri, trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin, $16 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-1431-3618-7

Bestseller Camilleri’s charming 27th mystery featuring Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2020’s The Sicilian Method) begins when a factory worker in Vigàta, Sicily, angry over recent layoffs, hangs himself. That the factory’s owner, Giovanni Trincanato, shows no remorse over the layoffs angers Montalbano. In the course of his investigation, the inspector connects the arrival of two women in town purporting to be highly paid escorts to Trincanato and a large schooner called the Halcyon that’s come into port and is oddly bereft of passengers. When Trincanato is shot dead, Montalbano vows to find out who’s behind the murder. Meanwhile, officials tell Montalbano to start taking mandatory vacation days in preparation to retire, and he realizes he’s being pushed out of his job. Undaunted, Montalbano strives to figure out what links a series of seemingly unrelated yet suspicious events. Once again, Camilleri, who died in 2019, does a fine job balancing comedy and crime. Readers will hope this isn’t their last visit to Vigàta. Agent: Carmen Prestia, Alferjeprestia (Italy). (Mar.)