The number of Inspector Montalbano fans will continue to grow with this ingenious new novel featuring the earthy and urbane Sicilian detective. Half the retirees in Vi&ggrave;ata have invested their savings with a financial wizard who has disappeared, along with their money. As Montalbano investigates this labyrinthine financial scam, he finds himself at a serious disadvantage: a hostile superior has shut him out of the case, he's on the outs with his lover Livia, and his cherished Sicily is turning so ruthless and vulgar that Montalbano wonders if any part of it is worth saving. Drenched with atmosphere, crackling with wit, The Smell of the Night is Camilleri at his most addictive.
An intricate plot and a large cast of memorable characters help lift the sixth Inspector Montalbano mystery from Camilleri (The Snack Thief, etc.). When a ragioniere (financier) disappears with millions of lire after defrauding many investors in a pyramid scheme, the middle-aged Sicilian detective uses both official and unofficial channels, as the mood takes him, to form, test and eventually prove his own theories. The fun is in the process, as Montalbano flouts the law on occasion, tweaks his superiors, badgers his associates and wheedles information from various sources. The endearing inspector is, by his own admission, both glutton and gourmand, and the meals prepared for him both at home and in restaurants are large, frequent and lavish. Sly humor, an eye for beauty, a disdain for clich s and fools plus a first-rate intelligence make him formidable both as a detective and as a companion. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.