Thursday, August 13, 2015

Angelica's Smile

Angelica's Smile is 17th in the long-running Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri. I always enjoy these and buy them new as soon as I see them at my local bookstore. The characters have depth, the plots are interesting, there's humor.... I can't think of anything else I could want in a detective mystery. They are better if read in order, as the characters develop over time.

from the back of the book:

A rash of burglaries has got Inspector Montalbano stumped. The patterns of the crimes are so similar and so brazen that Montalbano begins to think a criminal mastermind is challenging him. This suspicion is confirmed when he starts receiving menacing letters from the gang leader, the anonymous Mr. Z.

Among those burgled is the young and beautiful Angelica Cosulich, who reminds Montalbano of the love interest in Ludovico Ariosto's chivalric romance, Orlando Furioso. So taken is he by Angelica's charms that he imagines himself back in the medieval world of jousts and battles. But when one of the burglers turns up dead, Montalbano must snap out of his haze and unmask his challenger.
Some of the art works stolen include a seascape by Carra, perhaps like this:

Other artists mentioned are Renato Guttuso, Giorgio Morandi, Antonio Donghi, Mario Mafai, and Fausto Pirandello.

Kirkus Reviews says it "is slight but sublime, with droll dialogue, colorful characters and a sleek pace." Publishers Weekly calls it "delightful caper, replete with charming companions and a setting that’s a pleasure to return to." Crime Review closes with this: "there are so many more good things to say about the novel: the slick writing, the way the chapter breaks don’t impinge on the story, the wonderful pace, the page-turning compulsion, the interesting notes at the back of the book and the delight in finding yet another new title to enjoy."

NPR begins their positive review with this:
The Inspector Montalbano books, by Italian author Andrea Camilleri, supply everything I need for the beach. A good mystery. An exotic location — in this case, the beaches and piazzas of Sicily. And great writing that wears its fineness lightly, and keeps the pages turning. All with the most charming fuss-bucket of a detective to come along since Hercule Poirot: Inspector Salvo Montalbano.
I've also read these:
1. The Shape of Water
2. The Terra-Cotta Dog
3. The Snack Thief
4. Voice of the Violin
5. Excursion to Tindari
6. The Smell of Night
7. Rounding the Mark
8. The Patience of the Spider
9. The Paper Moon
10. August Heat
11. The Wings of the Sphinx
12. The Track of Sand
13. The Potter's Field
14. The Age of Doubt
15. Dance of the Seagull
16. Treasure Hunt


  1. This does sound delightful. After I finish with Richard Jury and Brunetti (years from now) I will definitely have a go at Montalbano!

    1. It is such a comfort to me to know I'll never run out of good books :)

  2. I remember you reviewing other books by this author and always wondering if my library has them. No such luck and I'm a very small fish in a big pond, so my request to add this series would go on deaf ears, I'm sure. But keep up the good reviews. If I can't find the books, at least I can read your take on them.

    1. Libraries can't carry everything, that's true. It's a popular series, though. Maybe an interlibrary loan? That way you could try the first one to see if it's to your liking.

  3. I've read several of these now and enjoyed each one.. I think I might have started from one of your earlier posts. Thanks for the list. I can see what I've missed and see if the library has them.