A book that gave me my reading mojo back during the coronavirus lockdown. Since my company decided we have to work from home from the 5th of March, by the time I picked this book from the shelf I was in the fourth week of lockdown. During those four weeks, I barely managed to finish one book, my attention span was gone. I compulsively read news for the first three weeks, calmed down a bit in the fourth, but it was this book that had enough charm to keep me reading without checking the news every five minutes. then the therapeutical power of reading kicked in, I unglued myself from the news and was able to read more.
This is the twentieth book about Inspector Montalbano. s is my habit I don’t read them in order and it was only the second one I ever read. Given that the series goes on for twenty books, even if Salvo was a young man at the beginning he is now middle-aged. We actually meet him on his 58th birthday, and he’s not happy about it. The day starts badly with a scare from an octopus, then a road rage incident follows. And it doesn’t get better.
Montalbano is called to investigate supermarket burglary, here a really annoyed owner expresses his unhappiness about being suspected of the crime. Montalbano knows the supermarket is owned by Mafia. So when the body of the owner is found, he really is not convinced it was a suicide, and neither is the coroner. At the same time, his adversary in the road rage incident comes to the station to report a terrible crime. It does not help that he is the son of the president of the province.
Montalbano now has to navigate between Mafia, politics, and crime. Trying to keep his conscience clear but also stay alive and keep his job. But what I loved about him most is the fact that no matter how busy he is there’s always time for lunch and dinner. In all this mess Montalbano finds time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Then I remembered my two trips to Sicily and my imagination did the rest.
It was a perfect escape. A good story, an interesting inspector, with some idiosyncrasies but not too many, a good balance of action and thinking. Giving you enough draw to keep on reading but also a good respite from the world around.
And now I got hungry, I don’t have any lovely seafood in my fridge, but I’m sure I can rustle up something tempting enough.
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