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August Heat

An Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri

Montalbano has been tasked by his girlfriend, Livia, with finding a villa near his Sicilian home for her and her friends to rent during the August holiday period. He finds it impossible, with all the estate agents laughingly telling him every property was let out ages ago.

Then, by some miracle he is notified of a cancellation. A nice house by the sea with access to the beach has become available only six miles from where he lives.

Montalbano's investigation gives him chance to
 cool off in the sea during the heat of August

But after Livia and her friends, a married couple with a young child, arrive, there is one disaster after another. They have to deal with invasions of cockroaches, rodents and spiders before they can settle down and enjoy their holiday.

After the couple’s young son goes missing, Livia calls in Montalbano to investigate. He discovers the child has fallen down a hole in the garden and accidentally discovered a hidden basement where he is trapped.

After the little boy has been rescued, Montalbano notices an old trunk in the basement and when he opens it, makes a grim discovery.

It is the final straw for the family and they leave with Livia, all blaming the whole fiasco on the hapless Montalbano.

The inspector launches an investigation after his discovery, with the assistance of two of his officers, the diligent Fazio and the comical Catarella.

But he is hampered by the scorching Sicilian weather making it difficult to work and also becomes distracted by his feelings for a beautiful, young blonde girl who is involved in the case.

Montalbano is kept going by taking long swims in the sea and making frequent visits to his favourite trattoria . He also enjoys the wonderful Sicilian delicacies prepared for him by his housekeeper, Adelina, such as pappanozza, boiled onions and potatoes mashed and served cold seasoned with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and purpiteddri, baby octopus in a sauce of tomatoes and olives.

Using his unorthodox sleuthing tactics and brilliant flashes of intuition he solves the case, achieving a Montalbano style of justice at the end.

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More reading:

Andrea Camilleri profile and full list of Montalbano titles


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