Inspector Montalbano, praised as “a delightful creation” (USA Today), has been compared to the legendary detectives of Georges Simenon, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. As the fourth mystery in the internationally bestselling series opens, Montalbano's gruesome discovery of a lovely, naked young woman suffocated in her bed immediately sets him on a search for her killer. Among the suspects are her aging husband, a famous doctor; a shy admirer, now disappeared; an antiques-dealing lover from Bologna; and the victim's friend Anna, whose charms Montalbano cannot help but appreciate. But it is a mysterious, reclusive violinist who holds the key to the murder.
With his eye for beautiful women, his taste for fine literature and a tendency to stop in his tracks to indulge in a meal, the idiosyncratic Montalbano is totally endearing. But he's also a shrewd tactician and a very sensitive man, capable of listening with rapture to a private violin concerto played by a disfigured recluse -- no colorful throwaway scene, but a key piece of the plot. Stephen Sartarelli's light touch with the translation captures the sunny humor of Camilleri's idiomatic Sicilian dialect, even as it conveys the darker nuances of this complicated region. Marilyn Stasio