A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


The Shape of Water

The first Inspector Montalbano mystery by Andrea Camilleri

The Shape of Water introduces us to the squalor and chaos of Camilleri’s Sicily but also shows us its beauty and reveals the author’s love of the island.

The book starts, aptly enough, with the discovery of a body in a car by two garbage collectors.

Inspector Montalbano’s frustration with the legal and political system in Sicily, the every-day acceptance of corruption and the ongoing problems with the mafia are all vividly set out in the first few pages by Camilleri’s graphic prose, translated into English by Stephen Sartarelli.

Although the novel begins with a description of litter collecting by impoverished, unemployed, university graduates we are quickly transported to Montalbano’s house, which looks out over the sea and the San Calogero trattoria where he enjoys perfectly cooked dishes featuring locally-caught fish.

We learn about the Inspector’s complicated relationship with his girlfriend Livia, who lives in Genova, and his passion for literature and good food. We also find that despite Montalbano’s tough exterior he possesses a determination to get to the truth and a propensity to dispense his own type of justice, showing compassion and respect for vulnerable and honest people but no mercy at all for those who are greedy and immoral.

In this first Inspector Montalbano mystery, Andrea Camilleri serves up humour, local colour and an intriguing puzzle, spiced up with plenty of Sicilian cooking, which of course only leaves us wanting more.

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(Sicily picture by Nicola Giordano from Pixabay)

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