Having enjoyed and reviewed The Snack Thief, I was happy to sit down to an extra helping of Camilleri and his inspector Montalbano. I took this book with me on a trip to Italy, although I was travelling in the North not in Sicily. where this is set.
The Inspector has less sumptuous dishes than in the Snack Thief but he still has his share of grilled and fried mullet, an especially tasty rabbit dish and when he enters a restaurant he replies to the question : “What can I get for you, Inspector?“, jokingly saying “Everything!”
At the beginning of the story the Inspector is recovering from a gunshot wound to his shoulder and he is supposed to be taking things easy, but like many famous detectives he won’t follow the doctor’s advice. A beautiful girl has gone missing, her parent have no money to pay a ransom, but the kidnapper’s seem sure the impoverished father and dying mother will be able to get their hands on a fortune.
An intriguing case which whets Montalbano’s healthy appetite. The spider’s web is often used as a metaphor for a complex case of a scheme plotted in the shadows and here it is drawn out in detail as the Inspector inspects the delicate weave of an actual web while his brain cells work on the case. Like Sherlock Holmes he gets out his magnifying glass:
Ever since Sherlock Holmes, no detective is a true detective if he doesn’t have a magnifying glass within reach.
Strewn with a host of interesting, diverse secondary characters and ripe with the essence of Italian culture, this is a filling appetiser leaving the palate wishing for some more.
My rating 4 out of 5
English Translation by Stephen Sartarelli