Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Dance of the Seagull - Andrea Camilleri

I'm rather rapidly working my way through the Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri.  I think I've only missed one between the first book and this one and there are several more after The Dance of the Seagull.

Montalbano, rising early, watches a seagull die on the beach in front of his house.  The bird does an odd sort of circling dance before expiring.  Later, another death reminds Montalbano of the bird's death.

He then discovers that one of his detectives, Fazio, is missing.  As Montalbano investigates his disappearance, he finds that Fazio had been off on a secret investigation.  He'd been trying to find out if something was being smuggled into or out of the town port.  They eventually find Fazio, dazed and without his memory.  Montalbano thinks Fazio may still be in danger from the men who tried to kill him.

As Montalbano takes up the investigation, he uncovers several romantic or sexual relationships that are out of the ordinary and that, one way or another, have an effect on the occurrence of the crimes committed.  The bodies start piling up, including one of the Mafia's men, found at the bottom of a deep, dry well out in the country.  This is what was supposed to happen to Fazio before he chucked one of the Mafioso into a well, ran off, and got shot.

Montalbano, with his unusual methods of police work, ties it all up and gets the bad guys.

I like Montalbano.  I like that he's getting older and suffers the aches and indignities that many of us  suffer as we age.  It makes him human and sympathetic.  I've never gotten a clear picture in my mind of what Montalbano or his fiancee Livia look like.  I haven't seen the TV series based on the books, but there's a sticker on this copy of The Dance of the Seagull that shows the actor who plays Montalbano.  He looks nothing as I had imagined, so now I'm confused and Montalbano has become hazier.

There is usually some humor in the Montalbano books, as there is in this one.  Although there are descriptions of the meals Montalbano eats, I think there are fewer in this book than in some of the earlier books.  I miss that.  I think Camilleri and Donne Leon, in her Inspector Brunetti series, have slacked off on the food descriptions.  I enjoy reading about pastas and veggies and beer and grappa.

Camilleri took me to Sicily and Montalbano entertained me for a few days.  I enjoyed the book and look forward to the rest in the series.


  1. I enjoyed taht one too, but I saw the TV series before starting to read the books so I've always had the image of the actor in my mind as I read them. I like the food descriptions too and his love of food seems to be a big part of his character. If Livia had been a good cook he might have married her!

    1. I just can't see the actor portraying Montalbano fitting the author's description. In this book, it says he's in his late 50s. I had always imagined him as a middle aged, overweight, out of shape guy who loves to eat. I'm not sure Livia would have a chance even if she could cook. She's too grouchy and demanding.