This is the fifth book in the Inspector Montalbano series. It’s not essential to have read any of the previous books to understand what is happening, but I would recommend it, as the characters have been developed over the series.
In this installment, Police Inspector Montalbano finds himself heading up an investigation into a young playboy. At the same time he finds himself dealing with the disappearance of an elderly couple. Initially there appears to be no connection between the two crimes, but when it discovered that all three people lived in the same apartment block, Montalbano’s suspicions become aroused. His investigation takes him and his team into dangerous territory involving the Sicilian Mafia.
As is the case with all of the books I have read in this series (so far), the case is interesting, but it takes a back seat to the interaction between the various characters. Salvo Montalbano is an irritable, grumpy man who feels that he is being left behind in a word where technology is taking over. However, he has amazing intuition and a terrific sense of humour, as well as a deep sense of honour. His interactions with his detective team – particularly the hapless Catarella and the smart Augello – are amusing and believeable.
The book (and indeed the series) also paints a vivid picture of Sicilian life and culture. It’s a light read, but an interesting one. This series has not disappointed me yet!