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The Track of Sand

An Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri

Montalbano locates the scene of the crime by following a trail of hoofprints in the sand
Montalbano locates the scene of the crime by
following a trail of hoofprints in the sand
Inspector Montalbano finds himself distracted by a beautiful, female equestrian champion and also distraught when events conspire to prevent him enjoying good food, in this 12th book in the series.

The Inspector’s troubles begin when he finds the carcass of a dead horse on the beach in front of his house. When he gets close to it, he is overcome with rage. ‘The beast was all bloodied, its head broken open with some sort of iron bar, its whole body bearing the signs of a long, ferocious beating. There were deep, open wounds, pieces of flesh dangling. It was clear that the horse, battered as it was, had managed to escape and run desperately away until it could go no further.'

Montalbano follows the hoofprints to the spot where the horse had been beaten and discovers from the impressions in the sand that four people had been hitting the horse with iron bars, witnessed by two others, who had stood to one side, smoking.

He calls out his men and sends them to scour the beach for forensic evidence and then rings up City Hall to arrange for the carcass to be taken away. But while he and his men are having coffee in the house, the horse mysteriously vanishes, leaving only a track in the sand.

The Track of Sand is the 12th of Camilleri's Montalbano novels
The Track of Sand is the 12th of
Camilleri's Montalbano novels
Before long, Rachele, a glamorous horsewoman, turns up at police headquarters to report her horse missing. It had been stabled in the grounds of one of the richest men in Sicily, who had lost one of his horses as well.

Even though the case really belongs to officers working in another part of the island, Montalbano can’t resist investigating himself and he vows to track down the people responsible for this atrocity.

But it soon becomes obvious that he has upset someone, as thieves break into his home twice, once to steal a watch and once to put it back.

Coincidentally, Rachele is staying with Montalbano’s attractive Swedish friend, Ingrid, and the two women ask Montalbano to go with them to a fund-raising dinner, which, of course, he dreads. He knows in advance that the food will be awful and finds he is absolutely right. He returns home late at night looking forward to eating olives and anchovies from the fridge with some hard bread and plenty of wine. But he finds his house has been ransacked while he was out.

Montalbano and his officers work hard to unravel the mystery, track down the guilty parties and arrest them.

Then the Inspector races home to set the table on his veranda so he can sit down and enjoy a meal cooked by his housekeeper, Adelina, for himself, Ingrid and Rachele. He intends to savour the food, before explaining everything to them...

I am sure new readers and seasoned Camilleri fans alike will enjoy this 12th serving of Montalbano’s unorthodox investigative methods, melancholy self-reflection, Sicilian humour and perfectly cooked fish, all beautifully translated by Stephen Sartarelli.

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