The Safety Net

Penguin. (Inspector Montalbano, Bk. 25). Mar. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780143134961. pap. $16. M
Inspector Montalbano is feeling under siege. A Swedish film crew has descended on his Sicilian village of Vigàta to film a TV period piece and the townspeople are all aflutter. The chaos is making Montalbano’s sacred solitary lunches a thing of the past and is causing no end of headaches for his fellow officers. One afternoon, a local man presents the inspector with a titillating find; six Super-8 movies that his father shot in the late 1950s; each contains the same recording. The films show an outside wall, on the same day, for six consecutive years. With very little to go on, the inspector begins digging into the family’s past, and a tragic tale slowly takes shape. While all this is happening, a parallel story unfolds involving Montalbano’s second-in-command and an inexplicable and terrifying incident at a local school. Revered Italian author Camilleri (1925–2019; The Other End of the Line, The Shape of Water, Death in Sicily) created an enduring, award-winning series that is internationally recognized. This 25th book is absorbing, cerebral, and infused with humor as well as tantalizing descriptions of Sicilian cuisine.
VERDICT Strongly recommended for purchase where the series is known, this book will also serve as a fine introduction to Camilleri’s oeuvre.

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