Joyce Lagow's Reviews > August Heat

August Heat by Andrea Camilleri
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Apr 20, 2010

really liked it

10th in the Inspector Montalbano series set in Sicily.[return][return]As promised by the title, the heat is scorching. Livia has coerced Salvo into finding a beach rental villa for friends of hers, who have a little boy. When Montalbano visits them, the boy, a handful at best, manages to fall into an unused space below the villa that turns out to be an illegal apartment. After rescuing the boy, Montalbano notices a chest; naturally, he opens it--to find a nearly mummified body of a young girl, encased in plastic.[return][return]The resulting investigation turns up suspects, each of whom has a more or less ironclad alibi. To add to his troubles, Montalbano s relationship with Livia is under strain, and Salvo is beginning to feel his age.[return][return]The previous book, Paper Moon, was something of a disappointment, since it concentrated more on Montalbano s mid-life crisis than on any investigation. This book returns Salvo almost to form. The plot is very good, with interesting turns, and there is plenty of side commentary about the state of affairs in Italy (never good at the best of times). [return][return]Always important in this series are the comprimario characters; Fazio, Montalbano s aide, who has been promoted to Inspector (Montalbano himself is a Chief Inspector); Dr.Pasquano, the irascible pathologist; the various idiotic bureaucrats who head up the Questura; and Catarella, the fumbling clown, who is a computer genius. As usual, the non-recurring characters are well portrayed. [return][return]Steven Sartarelli, the translator, does an outstanding job of translating into idiomatic English while keeping the style and rhythm of Italian. It s not the strongest entry in the series, but is still an excellent read. Highly recommended.
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