Monday, 26 January 2009
The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri
SICILY is usually the place for Mob stories. But there are other stories there too.
In Camilleri’s latest cosy thriller about Inspector Salvo Montalbano of the Vigata police force, politics keep seeping into the investigation of murder.
The victim has been shot in the face and left with his mickey dangling, suggesting some kind of crime of passion.
But as Montalbano probes the crime - in between feasts at local restaurants - things begin to look a little less clear-cut.
The dead man had a hot-breathed, close relationship with his nun-like sister, a baggy woman with tempting violet eyes.
But there were lovers, and lovers of lovers. There’s an impotent husband who wants to hear all the details of the affairs of his wife - but becomes enraged when she has a bit on the side without telling him. That’s unfaithful.
And there’s the dead man’s profession - a pharmaceutical salesman, in an area where a series of upper-class men have been found dead, killed by badly-cut cocaine.
Inspector Montalbano is beloved of readers, as much a classic of mystery writing as Poirot or Maigret.
This doesn’t have the sprightly humour of the early stories - but it has its moments, as the police in the tiny station work their way through the clues, and work out how to sidestep the politics of the murder.