A Little Bit of Sicily


Just to keep things on the lighter side today, I’m reading the latest Andrea Camilleri Inspector Montalbano book, A Voice in the Night. These are terrific police procedural novels set in Sicily. (Once you get into them, “procedural” maybe be just a bit overstated!) Inspector Salvo Montalbano and his team negotiate the more than tricky landscape of Sicily in a wonderful and often hilarious style. There’s also an Italian television series called Inspector Montalbano which is available on DVD here in the USA. There are 22 episodes, and they are really fun. The TV series is so good in depicting the characters in the books that now when I read one of the novels I exactly see the character as the actor in the TV series.

Camilleri, a retired drama professor living in Rome (he’s 91!) doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the changes in Italian life and the intricacies of the Italian bureaucracy. Once again, order is important as the relationships Montalbano has with his police colleagues, his housekeeper and her family, his professor girlfriend Livia (who lives in Genoa – they talk on the phone a lot), the owner of his favorite restaurant, and even the Mafia are worth learning all about as you make your way through this series. The Stephen Sartarelli  translations are all very good. Here they all are in order:

The Shape of Water  (La forma dell’acqua, 1994) English trans. 2002
The Terracotta Dog (Il cane di terracotta, 1996) English trans. 2002
The Snack Thief (Il ladro di merendine, 1996) English trans. 2003
The Voice of the Violin (La voce del violino, 1997) English trans. 2003
Excursion to Tindari (La gita a Tindari, 2000) English trans. 2004
The Scent of the Night (L’odore della notte, 2001) English trans. 2005
Rounding the Mark (Il giro di boa, 2003) English trans. 2006
The Patience of the Spider (La pazienza del ragno – 2004) English trans. 2007
The Paper Moon (La Luna di Carta – 2005) English trans. 2008
August Heat (La Vampa d’Agosto – 2006) English trans. 2009
The Wings of the Sphinx’s (Le Ali della Sfinge – 2006)  English trans. 2009
The Track of Sand (La pista di Sabbia – 2007) English trans. 2010
The Potter’s Field (Il campo del vasaio – 2008) English trans. 2011
The Age of Doubt (L’età del dubbio) – 2008 English trans. 2012
The Dance of the Seagull (La danza de gabbiano) 2009 English trans. 2013
Treasure Hunt  (La caccia al tesoro) 2010 English trans. 2013
Montalbano’s First Case – 2013
Angelica’s Smile (Il sorriso di Angelica) 2011 English trans. 2014
Game of Mirrors (Il gioco degli specchi) 2011  English trans.2015
A Beam of Light (Un lamo di luce) 2012 English trans. 2015
A Voice in the Night (Una voce di notte) 2012 English trans. 2016

There are newer ones not yet translated, plus a novella or two and a short story collection.

While looking up a couple things about Camilleri I came upon this fun food site and a pasta recipe that Montalbano would have loved. (The food in these novels is amazing!) Here’s the link: https://www.theguardian.com/books/little-library-cafe

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