This is the first book in the Montalbano series. It was originally published in its native Italian in 1994 and was published in English in 2002. In this first instalment, we meet the titular character of the series, Salvo Montalbano, a Sicilian who is the head of the Vigata police precinct. The story revolves around the seemingly natural death of engineer Silvio Luparello after his autopsy rules that he died after having a heart attack, but Montalbano thinks that something else is going on. He demands two days before the case is closed to investigate it further.
I thought this was a fantastic introduction to this series. First of all, I love the setting of this book. Although it is set in a fictional village, it has a distinct Sicilian feel to it and it really draws you into the story. When I first read this book, I had never been to Sicily before but last year I had a holiday with my family there and we actually visited the village that the TV show is filmed in. We saw the police station it is set in. Anyway, the setting is fantastic and it really helps you to become immersed in the story and the characters.
Speaking of the characters, they are all so well written. Montalbano is a fantastic protagonist and there is also a wonderful cast of characters around him. The plot is compelling throughout and I enjoyed watching the mystery unfold. There is plenty of humour woven into the story and I love that one of Montalbano’s defining characteristics is his love for food. I would definitely say that this is on the lighter side of crime fiction. There are obviously darker elements since it is about crime but this book doesn’t contain truly gruesome murders, gore etc. So if you are looking for a lighter crime novel with wonderful characters and a great setting, then you should definitely check this series out.
Very sadly, Andrea Camilleri passed away earlier this year at 93 years old. At the time of his death, the Montalbano series numbered at 27 instalments, some still waiting to be translated.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend checking this series out. As of writing this, I have read three books in the series but plan to read more. Next up on my Montalbano TBR is Voice of the Violin. Have you guys tarted this series? I’d love to know what you guys thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.