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The Wings of the Sphinx (Commissario Montalbano #11)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,836 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
Food, love, and murder-Sicilian style-in the gripping eleventh installment of The New York Times bestselling Montalbano mystery series.
Things are not going well for Inspector Salvo Montalbano. His relationship with Livia is once again on the rocks and-acutely aware of his age-he is beginning to grow weary of the endless violence he encounters. Then a young woman is found
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,890)
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Veronica Bejarano
Nov 04, 2014 Veronica Bejarano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detectives
Nada mas abrir el libro me transporto al mundo de encanto y maravillas policiales de Salvo Montalbano. He reído, me he enfadado, seguí riendome y hasta seguí sus pensamientos como cuando leía a Sherlock hace muchos años. Señor Camilleri, hágame un favor, siga con nuestro Salvo largo y tendido porque el mundo e Italia lo necesita :)
Bill Rogers
Jul 15, 2011 Bill Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are several reasons that I love Andrea Camilleri's series involving Inspector Salvo Montalbani. Firstly the way in which he seems to capture the soul of contemporary life in Sicily. Secondly, the gentle humour with which excoriates the corruption and laziness of public office in his country. Thirdly the quality and intelligence of his writing. Fourthly, the simple yet engaging plots that he weaves. And finally, the wonderful characterisation that flows through the whole series; not least t ...more
Jan 13, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Camilleri, Andrea. THE WINGS OF THE SPHINX. (2009). ****. This latest installment in the Inspector Montalbano series brings us more of the taste of Sicily and its peculiar problems. The problems, mostly, involve the independent thinking of its population, tempered by the time-honored traditions of the Mafia and the Catholic Church. Montalbano is called to the scene of a garbage dump, where the body of a young woman was found. She had been shot in the face with a large caliber weapon so that she ...more
Joyce Lagow
This is not the best in the Inspector Montalbano of Vigáta, Sicily, but it's good enough. Montalbano continues to go through his mid-life crisis while being involved in a variety of intriguing cases, including a fake kidnapping and a puzzling murder of a young woman with a moth tattooed on her shoulder.

Sartarelli, Camillieri's translator, has chosen to present the dialogue in a far more informal, idiomatic English that I assume is his attempt to render Sicilian and slang into its equivalent in E
Il tempo passa per tutti e in questo libro sembra proprio che anche per Montalbano sia arrivato il momento di prenderne atto.
La storia naturalmente mi è piaciuta. Dico naturalmente perché Montalbano o si ama o si odia, e se lo si ama come si fa a non sorridere, a riflettere, a "santiare" con lui, qualsiasi sia l'indagine in corso? Anzi, a dirla tutta per quanto apprezzi la maestria di Camilleri nello svolgere una matassa di trama colma di indizi e di incastri perfetti poi alla fine il ricordo de
Nov 13, 2014 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, european
The 11th Montalbano book this is a series that I'm tragically reading out of order, behind the publication dates and sadly not often enough.

Of course fans know about the food, and the scenery, and the grumpiness of Montalbano. Combine that with the vague lunacy of the members of the rest of the police force he has to work with and there's a sense of affection about these books.

Which stands out markedly against the relationships that Montalbano has with everyone including his on/off/distant/what
Nancy Oakes
The eleventh novel in the Inspector Montalbano series, Wings of the Sphinx is another excellent entry , although definitely more serious in tone than many of Camilleri's earlier books. Events of the previous book August Heat are still fresh in his mind when Salvo is called to the scene of a murder, where a very young girl, barely only twenty, was found naked in a dump with a shotgun wound that tore her face off. The officers have only an odd tattoo on her shoulder, one that turns out to be a sph ...more
Oct 12, 2012 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mediterranean
This is the 8th or 9th book in the Inspector Montalbano series that I've read, and while I obviously enjoy them enough to keep wanting to read them I do think they suffer from having been badly translated. They are all very obviously written in "Translatese", with a very stilting, faltering style and I can't help but think that a more skilled translation would bump them up to a 4 out of 5.

Thankfully though the pacey plot and Montalbano's endless wise-cracks are always enough to hold my interest
Jun 28, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-italy
I wonder how many more of these are coming? The author is in his 80's and Montalbano is in his 50's and starting to have some serious issues with his work and relationship with Livia. As always these are enjoyable to read. They are over before you know it. The main character has a zest for food and reflection. He's simultaneously alike and different from other police inspectors like Kurt Wallander. He's as devoted to seeking the truth but at the same time he's a pragmatist who moves on when the ...more
Jul 25, 2010 Ladiibbug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
#11 Inspector Salvo Montalbano mystery

A huge favorite series, set in Italy. Police Insp. Montalbano solves intriguing crimes in spite of government and/or police corruption, incompetence, mistakes, etc. As always policeman Catarella provides the laughs with his mangled speech and phone messages that leave everyone guessing what the caller really said.

"[The phone rings at home, Montalbano answers hello:]. It's Catarella calling from the station:

"Chief, whadd I do, wake y'up?"
"No, Cat, I was awake
Cathy Cole
Aug 30, 2013 Cathy Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Montalbano's bitterness about his ever-increasing age, I have to admit that I've found the last two books in this series not as enjoyable as the rest. I'm from the school that believes getting older is better than its many alternatives, and it's best to put up and shut up. Montalbano did not attend the same school. Fortunately, he spends very little time grousing about the inevitable in this installment, so my enjoyment factor shot back up to its usual level.

Another element that can advers
Jun 23, 2010 Spuddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#11 Salvo Montalbano mystery series set in and around Montelusa, Sicily, Italy. A young woman's body is found in a dump, shot through the head with a weapon that caused enough damage to make her face unidentifiable. But she does have a small tattoo of a moth on her left shoulderblade that should make identification a little easier. When Montalbano urges his friend at the TV news station to broadcast the picture though, several calls come in that would seem to indicate that there is a whole fleet ...more
Kathleen Jones
Jun 06, 2012 Kathleen Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of my favourite Montalbano's, but a very good read nonetheless. I love the eccentric, paranoid, tetchy, but ultimately brilliant detective. He's someone I'd want on my side if I was ever in trouble. Wish I could say that he's typical of the Italian police force. Sigh..... what the books do reveal is the amount of bureaucracy the police have to contend with - and political pressure from powerful groups. In this novel it's the church that's exerting the pressure. But Montalbano is determin ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Another entertaining Inspector Montalbano mystery. Salvo has gotten into an argument with his long-time girlfriend Livia, and he is beginning to feel old. He's confronted with a case of a beautiful murdered girl who's had her face blown off, and is recognizable only by a butterfly tattoo..a case that turns out to involve prominent figures in an Italian charity. The cases, however, are not the best part of these books--it is the affectionate portrayal of the recurring characters, and the wonderfu ...more
Dec 06, 2011 Zoli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another wonderful Montalbano novel by Andrea Camilleri, and as always it is full with hints on social and political issues in Berlusconi's Italy. Again, the exploitation and situation of illegal immigrants in Italy are the underlying topic for the crimes Salvo Montalbano tries to solve. As with any Camilleri book, it isn't really about crime or solving it, that just presents an opportunity to discuss other, more immanent questions. Definitely worth reading it even if you haven't read any oth ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just goes to show that policework is little changed regardless of country. And SOME policemen are too creative by half! This is a good thing!
Inspector Montalbano works for a jurisdiction in Sicily and knows how to sidestep both his superior and nearby jurisdictions. He also knows how to script and act (with the able assist of his fellows) to get to the bottom of things. And those fellows! Each is useful in his own way, including the one who is comic relief by way of indecipherable handwriting an
Mar 20, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-europe
Once again, Inspector Montalbano must investigate a murder. This time the body is a naked woman with only one identifying mark--a small tattoo of a butterfly on her shoulder blade. Of course, even without the murder there are things that keep the police busy, including the case of the kidnapping victim who may only be off with his girlfriend while his wife worries. The usual wonderfully vivid cast of characters makes up for the thin plot. I don't know why this series is so enthralling, but it is ...more
Alison C
Mar 09, 2015 Alison C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Wings of the Sphinx, by Andrea Camilleri, is the latest (published in Italy in 2006) addition to Camilleri's long-running series about Sicilian Inspector Salvo Montalbano. It opens with our intrepid policeman feeling the weight of his 56 years and wondering if his longstanding relationship with significant other Livia has reached its end and if so, how he feels about that. Fortunately for him, his brooding introspection is interrupted with the death of a lovely young woman, whose naked body ...more
A young woman, her face mostly blown off and nude, is found in a local garbage dump; the only distinguishing mark is the tattoo of a butterfly (actually, a sphinx moth) on her left shoulderblade. The tattoo turns out to be common among four Russian girls, who have been recruiting by a pious group for nefarious purposes. Not as good as the others in this series, and the on-again, off-again relationship Montalbano has with Livia is actually tiring.
Feb 09, 2010 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series just keeps getting better. Montalbano has mellowed with age, but still manages to be a pain in the ass and a deeply humane person. Camilleri gives us the right mix of plot, mystery, and politics. And,as always, food plays a starring role.

Most mystery series begin to get a bit stale after seven or eight novels,but this series has gotten better with each new release.

The translation by Sartarelli was a joy, as always.
Jan 29, 2010 Spiros rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those in the market for a tasty mystery
Shelves: italy, new
A shapely corpse, graced with a butterfly tattoo, and with an obliterated face, leads Montalbano onto the trail of a benevolent society named Benevolence. Simultaneously, the Inspector is investigating a very dubious kidnapping. Are the two cases connected?
Thankfully, Camilleri seems to have rediscovered his fascination for Sicilian food; the description of empanata di maiali is to drool over.
Aug 28, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another very good mystery from Andrea CAmilleri centering on Sicily's Inspector Montalbano. The usual great descriptions of food; the usual problems with the authorities, which Montalbano gets around as he usually does; and the usual problems between Montalbano and his girlfriend, Livia, from Genoa. But going back to a beloved setting and great characters is almost like going home.
Renato Mite
May 27, 2015 Renato Mite rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una ragazza dal volto devastato da un proiettile viene ritrovata nuda in una discarica con della porporina sul corpo, unico segno distintivo il tatuaggio di una farfalla su una spalla. Questi sono gli unici indizi a disposizione di Montalbano per trovare l'assassino. Il commissario indaga con l'aiuto di Fazio e del vice Augello mentre deve districarsi tra il senso di vecchia, i problemi con Livia, e la ricerca di un presunto sequestrato in realtà fuggito dalla moglie. Montalbano riesce a fare le ...more
Jan Polep
Jul 05, 2010 Jan Polep rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good one in the series of mysteries set in Sicily with Inspector Montalbano. Let's just say they don't run crime investigations in Sicily like the do in the States. Part travelogue, part quirky characters, part foodie recipes...a peek at a different way of life. This one had quite a finale.
Vicky Bernard
Mar 27, 2010 Vicky Bernard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Montalbano se sent vieux, croit qu'il a peut-être perdu définitivement Livia et a toujours autant de difficulté à se lever le matin... Une nouvelle enquête sur ce qui semble être du trafic humain - et les bons petits plats d'Enzo et de sa bonne - le remette sur les rails. Un grand crû!
Brendan Monroe
Feb 19, 2014 Brendan Monroe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I didn't like this Montalbano mystery as much as the last, August Heat, it is still a solid entry to the series. There is quite a lot going on here, between details regarding Montalbano's now-rocky relationship with Livia, a side story about a faked-kidnapping, and the (as usual) excellent passages on Enzo's amazing trattoria (and other food notes) that the "main" story, that of the murder of a tattooed Russian girl, seems to get lost in the shuffle. That this book is a relatively brisk 23 ...more
Jan 25, 2010 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Montalbano mystery books by Andrea Camilleri are most reliable: funny, a good story, excellent language, Sicilian attitude and at least one Sicilian recipe. And the latest story "The Wings of the Sphinx" is no exception.
Oct 01, 2014 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: easy-reads
First, my compliments to Stephen Sartarelli on his translation and notes compiled for the reader to understand every nuance of Camilleri's written word.
Some say that the pace of the book is slow, but, I enjoyed this differing flavor on a detective novel. Camilleri is able to immerse us in the world of Inspector Montalbano: his love and enjoyment of mediterranean food coupled with a detailed description of the sea and the warm and rocky Sicilian geography. With a mix of humor, cynicism, compassio
Dec 22, 2015 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another great Inspector Montalbano mystery.
A young woman is found dead. The only way to identify her is by a tattoo of a sphinx moth on her shoulder. Inspector Montalbano links her to three other young woman (with the same tattoo) recently arrived from Russia and rescued from a "life on the streets" by a benevolent charity organization. Meanwhile, his relationship with his long-time girlfriend "Livia" is on the rocks.
Lots of humor, good food, and Sicilian atmosphere in the story - just l
Jan 30, 2010 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, italy
The last mystery featuring Montablano was so interesting that this one suffered in comparison. Montablano light.
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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 23 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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