Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano

We have so enjoyed the books by Andrea Camilleri about Sicilian detective Inspector Salvo Montalbano. They are such great stories with amazing characters, people you come to know and enjoy. They are very funny, and also so well describe the current challenges of Italy today, and particularly Sicily.

Camilleri’s career was in the theater, but he also wrote the occasional novel. In 1994 he wrote the first Montalbano book, The Shape of Water. It was an instant hit, and the books and the subsequent TV series both had spectacular reception. Something like 80% of the television viewers in Italy watched the first episode of the last Montalbano series a couple years ago.

Camilleri grew up in Sicily and these books are a tribute to his hometown, Porto Empedocle. The town in the book is Vigata. After the huge success of the books and the TV series, Porto Empedocle changed its name to Porto Empedocle Vigata. There is a statue of Inspector Montalbano in the town square, and you can eat at the bar that is the model for Enzo’s in the books.

There are 28 books. The last one, Riccardino, just came out at the end of September. Camilleri wrote it over ten years before he died. He wanted to end the Montalbano saga on his own terms, so he wrote the last book while he still had his wits about him and still had a few more books to write. Camilleri died in July, 2019, at the age of 94.

There are 37 TV episodes. You can read about them at this Wikipedia link:
The main cast remained the same throughout the series (except for Montalbano’s girlfriend Livia) and they are all terrific. You can stream them on MHz. Worth the subscription to see them all.
Here are the books. Like all good series, it’s best to read them in order. They are all written in Italian, but the English translation is excellent.

The Shape of Water (2002)
The Terra-Cotta Dog (2002)
The Snack Thief (2003)
Voice of the Violin (2003)
The Excursion to Tindari (2005)
The Smell of the Night (2005)
Rounding the Mark (2006)
The Patience of the Spider (2007)
The Paper Moon (2008)
August Heat (2009)
The Wings of the Sphinx (2009)
The Track of Sand (2010)
The Potter’s Field (2011)
The Age of Doubt (2012)
The Dance of the Seagull (2013)
Treasure Hunt (2013)
Angelica’s Smile (2013)
Game of Mirrors (2015)
A Beam of Light (2015)
A Voice in the Night (2016)
A Nest of Vipers (2017)
The Pyramid of Mud (2018)
The Overnight Kidnapper (2019)
The Other End of the Line (2019)
The Safety Net (2020)
The Sicilian Method (2020)
The Cook of the Halcyon (2021)
Riccardino (2021)

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