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The Potter's Field (Commissario Montalbano #13)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  2,166 Ratings  ·  214 Reviews
When Viagata is wracked by storms, Inspector Salvo Montalbano is called to attend the discovery of a dismembered body in a field of clay. It looks like the work of the notorious local mafia. But who is the victim? Why was the body divided into 30 pieces? And what is the significance of the Potter's Field?
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Mantle (first published 2008)
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The theme of the Potter’s Field is betrayal. The reference to the potter’s field stems from the Gospels according to Matthew. When Judas returns to the priests the 30 pieces of silver he was paid for betraying Christ, they use them to purchase a potter’s field, a burial ground for the indigent. When the Mafia deliberately slices the body of a traitor into 30 pieces, it is sending a warning message to others. In this context, Andrea Camilleri understands to mention Umberto Eco’s theory of semioti ...more
Michelle L
Oct 27, 2011 Michelle L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-mystery
Another neat trick by Camilleri. It seems so simple and obvious in the first part of the book, I wondered where the twisty subtlety had gone. Well, I found out it hadn't.

The subtly twisting heart of this book comes from the idea of betrayal, big and small, in private, public and police life, against others or oneself. Some so small as not to matter, others that can ruin a career or end a life. Or save any of these.

Why on earth does a writer of Camilleri's gifts write mysteries - though I am s
Inspector Montalbano is getting older, closing in on 60. He is tired and achy but he still enjoys good food and wine. And he can still solve a complicated murder case because he is always thinking. He does multiplication tables when he is waiting. He uses Freud to interpret his dreams. He gives his boss statements to defend his actions using only the titles of Dostoevsky novels, knowing the commissioner will never pick up on it. He was too ignorant to have read them.

A body is found in a muddy c
Oct 28, 2011 Liane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Camilleri is an acquired taste. This one starts out in amusing fashion when Inspector Montalbano has to be driven to a suspected crime scene by Catarella who normally doesn't leave the police station. The sergeant can hardly move without breaking/falling over/banging into something. The pair pull up alongside the police Jeep and don't see anyone. Because it is pouring rain, the Inspector [he really doesn't want to get wet] tells Catarella to honk the horn but it doesn't work, so the two sit ther ...more
Nancy Oakes
Definitely not my favorite in the series, but like 3.75 stars rounded up.

The Potter's Field is the latest in Camilleri's adventures featuring Inspector Salvo Montalbano, coming in at book number thirteen in the series. According to Wikipedia, there are three more already written, waiting to be translated. Good. I'm not quite ready for the series to end just yet.

Montalbano has a lot on his plate in this installment. First, he is called to a crime scene in the middle of the pouring rain, where a
Gisela Hafezparast
Unlike the previous Camilleri, this one took me quite a while to get interested in. The first bit felt very formulaic and whilst one of the reasons I love the series is the description of the Sicilian ways of the police there and Montelbano himself, I felt it was very much the same as in the previous books. But it improved once Montelbano "got to work" so to say and on the whole it was a good, if not a great read.
Aug 30, 2015 Marina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andrea Camilleri is one of my favorite mystery writers. His Montalbano series are one of the best in the genre. I have watched every episode of the TV series made according to his novels. Inspector Montalbano is just one of a kind, and one of my favorite detectives. The Potter's Field is the thirteenth in the row.

The police gets a call about a dead body on a private property, a place called the potter's field. It is raining heavily and when the police arrives, the body is gone. But soon after th
Jun 11, 2012 Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an unusual one for me. I enjoy murder mysteries, and enjoy trying to predict whodoneit. In this case, part of the early challenge was to predict who got done. It took a little work to get into the book because it was originally written in Italian. So not only did it need to be translated, but the transcriber had to cope with finding English equivalents for Italian slang and what would be the language of New York bumblers. *Think "youse guys."* But, after the initial adjustment was made, ...more
Oct 13, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-italy
My favorite detective series of all time. Just the right mix of humor and cunning. Montalbano seems ready for retirement but Camilleri has him masterfully pulling the strings like a puppetmaster on a very complex case that appears to be a slam dunk. In this mystery we have: a dismembered body; a beautiful woman(Latina) who leaves men agape reports her husband, a sailor, missing; the Mafia looks to be involved-drug smuggling?; one of Montalbano's leading detectives is really moody. As usual there ...more
For the smoothly interwoven literary references alone, I give this thirteenth book in the Inspector Montalbano series 4 stars. With the theme of the Potter's field in the Gospel of Matthew (30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus), Camilleri cleverly weaves in literary references into the investigation that include Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Machiavelli and others (some of which I'm sure I missed). Reminiscent of Vladimir Nabokov. A gem in the genre. This is a police procedural that rises above the ge ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Favorite Andrea Camilleri to Date... Having not read the Author in a while... I realized how much I missed his Books.. After you read his first book... You can skip around because they are Stand Alone Novels...The Potters Field is very Current,And Historic & Poetic Lets not forget Murder Italian Style... Andrea Camilleri can Stir The Pot Incorporating Religion with a Twist and it all fits together... Solved... With a dash of Philosophy..
Ken Fredette
Dec 07, 2011 Ken Fredette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this Montalbano. Andrea Camilleri really portrayed a tired Inspector Montalbano. He's really tried to make him human with guilt feelings towards Livia. I know there's a lot of other written books of Inspector Montalbano out there in Italian that haven't been translated yet. So I don't know whats going to happen. Be ready though.
Only Camilleri could come up with such a convoluted murder plot and resolution.! The whole department is stressed, even in their personal lives, and doing the legwork on this one only adds to their woes. But Montalbano susses it all out and uses the solution to bring things back on track for the team. Another great read from the master!
Adam Moss
Mar 16, 2014 Adam Moss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully playful, ingeniously twisty and with an appetite for life and solving mysteries you'd expect from an olive-oil fuelled Mediterranean man of law. This is a fantastically light read, despite it subject matter. And it's funny too. Rarely can comedy and crime have become such fitting bedfellows. Highly recommended.
Susan Edwards
Jul 20, 2015 Susan Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A new discovery, this is my second book by this author. Great little mystery for summer reading. Author uses interesting quote sources bringing in a deeper dimension. A new favorite curmudgeon of a detective!
Nov 09, 2016 Rbucci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was fun and entertaining to read. It took me a bit to get used to some of the characters' speaking styles, but once I did it was great.
Νίκος Μ
Jan 03, 2016 Νίκος Μ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Ο γνωστός Καμιλέρι με σφιχτή πλοκή,ωραία ιστορία και γερές δόσεις χιούμορ κυρίως με τον Καταρέλα :) Οι fans θα μείνουν σίγουρα ικανοποιημένοι με το αποτέλεσμα
Feb 15, 2017 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I made the small mistake of reading this, the 13th book in a series, first--convinced by the cover notes that one did not need to read the books in sequence. But this series is by an Italian about Italians and set in Italy (or more precisely, Sicilians in Sicily), and I think I could have better or at least more quickly shared the feeling of close camaraderie among the characters if I had gotten to know them back when they got to know each other in earlier volumes. So after a bit of a struggle t ...more
Arun R
Feb 23, 2017 Arun R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andrea Camilleri received CWA Dagger Award for this novel. It lives up to that expectation.
Jan 05, 2017 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The series just gets better and better with each book. May Andrea Camilleri write forever.
Nov 01, 2013 Roger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all a tribute to Stephen Sarterelli who translates Andrea Camilleri's excellent series into English. Just translating the words is probaly relatively straightforward but it must be so difficult to capture the spirit of what the author intends and how he wants his books to feel. Add to that the complexity of trying to put Sicilian dialect into English for some of the characters and the challenges must be immense. It seems to me that Mr Sarterelli succeeds completely in giving us just wha ...more
Sep 22, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery, taking place in Sicily, was not a bad story but I found the translation distracting. I think the book would have read more smoothly if the translator had not tried to translate a regional Sicilian accent into some kind of accented English. Books are matters of personal choice, of course, but I don't believe I will be reading another book by this author.
Alison C
Mar 04, 2015 Alison C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Potter's Field is the 13th novel in Andrea Camilleri's series about Sicilian Inspector Salvo Montalbano, and as the series continues, our favourite detective ages; he may be near the end of his run here, or at least he's contemplating retirement. Montalbano is called to the very wet and muddy scene of a hideous find, that of a plastic bag containing a body that's been cut into 30 pieces. The murder was committed some months previously, and the man's face had been obliterated, his fingers and ...more
Sep 21, 2016 Lawless rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the many things that make me happy and make life worth living, is the fact that my local library has an entire shelf dedicated to mysteries, it's the most wonderful thing.

It was because of this that I came across The Potter's Field. I had never heard of Andrea Camilleri before, and I don't understand why. I think that he's popular in Europe, but I guess America hasn't caught on yet.

Right, so The Potter's Field follows a now old and incredibly grumpy Inspector Montalbano as he tries to fi
Sergio Frosini
Il campo del vasaio. Pagato con i trenta denari di Giuda. Luogo-simbolo del tradimento.
E il tradimento è il leitmotif di questa storia del commissario Montalbano. Dove forse il lato poliziesco è un po' meno elaborato rispetto ad altre storie, e mi si è disvelato più facilmente. Vuoi per la mia somma intelligenza di lettore ormai scafato, vuoi (soprattutto, dannazione) per le note sui risvolti di copertina che manca poco ti rivelano anche il finale fingendo di mascherarlo dietro giri di parole (S
Alyce E
So, during my lunch break a few days ago, I went to the Harold Washington Library downtown (can I use "downtown" and "the Loop" interchangeably? Not sure yet...) over my lunch break. I had a few books to return, and I wanted to get the One Book, One Chicago book, The Warmth of Other Suns. Basically, this is like a citywide book club, so Chicago is going to host a ton of events related to this book; I figured I'd better read it.

While down in the Popular Library area, another book caught my eye. W
Aug 03, 2012 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audio-book
I wish I had read The Potter's Field in print, rather than listening to the audio. It's rare that I say that, most audiobooks I've listened to have been well dones, and in general I enjoy listening to mysteries; this one was just a little tough. I don't know why exactly, maybe there was just too much dialogue for an audio, a little too difficult to keep the speakers straight. Or maybe the voices of Inspector Salvo Montalbano and the other characters were not how I heard them in my head when I re ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Farrah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, italiano, 2012
This is one of a series of mysteries featuring an Italian police inspector, Montalbano. I wasn't sure at times if this book was quirky as a result of translation, writing style, or Italian culture. Some of the moments in the book that were intended to be comic relief I found to be awkward. A good example are scenes with Catarella (an officer who reports to Montalbano). He reminded me of a bumbling, slapstick character in a bad sitcom. However, scenes with Montalbano and his "pranks" caused me to ...more
When a body is found in a field of clay having been uncovered by a deluge it becomes a sensation because the body is recovered in thirty separate pieces. The press would like to sensationalize the find by putting it an the category of ritual killings, Satanic murder and other newsworthy events.

As much as Salvo Montalbano bemoans his slow creep into old age by refusing to wear eyeglasses he can still see clearly and can read the message of the body. The thirty pieces of a corpse, along with buria
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loyality and betrayal 1 7 Oct 11, 2012 08:04PM  
  • Ragionevoli dubbi
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  • I delitti di via Medina-Sidonia
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  • Serpenti nel Paradiso
  • La briscola in cinque
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  • Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg, #6)
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Andrea Camilleri (born september 6, 1925 in Porto Empedocle) is an Italian writer. He is considered one of the greatest Italian writers of both 20th and 21st centuries.

Originally from Porto Empedocle, Sicily, Camilleri began studies at the Faculty of Literature in 1944, without concluding them, meanwhile publishing poems and short stories. Around this time he joined the Italian Communist Party.

More about Andrea Camilleri...

Other Books in the Series

Commissario Montalbano (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • The Shape of Water (Inspector Montalbano, #1)
  • The Terra-Cotta Dog (Inspector Montalbano, #2)
  • The Snack Thief (Inspector Montalbano, #3)
  • Voice of the Violin (Inspector Montalbano, #4)
  • Excursion to Tindari (Inspector Montalbano, #5)
  • The Smell of the Night (Inspector Montalbano, #6)
  • Rounding the Mark (Inspector Montalbano, #7)
  • The Patience of the Spider (Inspector Montalbano, #8)
  • The Paper Moon (Inspector Montalbano, #9)
  • August Heat (Inspector Montalbano, #10)

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“And, pointing a trembling finger at Bonetti-Alderighi, with an expression of indignation and a quasi-castrato voice, he launched into the climax:
Ah, so you, Mr. Commissioner, actually believed such a groundless accusation? Ah, I feel so insulted and humiliated! You're accusing me of an act - no, indeed, a crime that, if true, would warrant a severe punishment! As if I were a common idiot or gambler! That journalist must be possessed to think of such a thing!"
End of climax. The inspector inwardly congratulated himself. He had managed to utter a statement using only titles of novels by Dostoyevsky. Had the comissioner noticed? Of course not! The man was ignorant as a goat!”
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