The Paper Moon

The Paper Moon is the latest (the ninth, I think) of Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano novels to be translated into English. There are, I’m informed, plenty more to come and they seem to be appearing at the rate of about two a year, so there’s lots still to look forward to. I’m now at the point that I can’t even be bothered to wait for the paperback version to come out – I immediately order (or pre-order) it in hardback.

In some ways there is little I can say about The Paper Moon that I haven’t said about Camilleri’s other Montalbano novels. The Paper Moon concerns a pharmaceuticals dealer who is found shot dead in his home. At the same time a number of prominent public figures die of heart failure. Or at least that’s the official story. Inevitably the deaths are linked, but Montalbano’s investigation into the shadier side of the victim’ life are complicated by the victim’s complex love life and even more complex relationship with his sister. Furthermore, Montalbano’s enquiry is periodically interrupted by his own physical needs, both sexual and culinary.

But it is impossible to read these books without a smile on yourself. Camilleri is witty, his satire biting and the descriptions of both the Sicilian landscape and mouth-watering cuisine means that you can almost feel the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and the waves gently lapping over your feet. Montalbano is someone you want to spend time with. No matter how violent the crimes, how corrupt the establishment, these are life-affirming novels and perfect summer reading.

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