Sunday, October 05, 2008

REVIEW: Voice of the Violin

Title: Voice of the Violin
Author: Andrea Camilleri
ISBN: 0142004456/Penguin Books
Protagonist: Inspector Salvo Montalbano
Setting: Sicily in 1997
Series: #4
Rating: B+

First Line: Inspector Montalbano could immediately tell that it was not going to be his day the moment he opened the shutters of his bedroom window.

It definitely wasn't his day. Being driven to an appointment by a police officer who puts the white in white-knuckle driving, Montalbano's car hits a car legally parked at the side of the road. No one answers the doorbell, Montalbano puts a note under the wiper blade of the other car and continues on his way. Returning along the same road late that night, the inspector notices that the car hasn't moved, the note under the wiper blade has been turned to mush by the rain, and there's still no answer at the house. Following his instincts, Montalbano breaks into the house and finds the nude body of a very beautiful--and very dead--woman. Now he's got to get an investigation going without letting his superiors know that he's the one who found the body. Once begun, the investigation gets even murkier, with a long list of suspects and the infuriating meddling of Montalbano's superior officers.

The first book in this series was almost my last. It seemed that Montalbano was all grump and very little else. A friend told me not to give up, and she was right. Yes, Montalbano is a grouch, but an endearing one, and I love the way his mind works. Only in Italy could you give a police officer an order to do something right away, have the officer respond that he'll do it after lunch--and have that be a totally acceptable reply. Perhaps the Italians know something the rest of us don't: things just run smoother after good food and proper digestion. If you like mysteries, don't pass by this series. The translation is top-notch, the writing flows like a clear mountain stream, the whodunit is more than satisfying, and the characters are brilliant.


  1. This sounds interesting - I'm always up for an Italian book (I love Italian food!) and the book cover's colours are so rich, warm and inviting :)

    However, I don't think I'll be able to get this book from where I am or where I live...oh, well.

  2. I just looked into the cost of mailing it to you...$25...well over the actual cost of the book. What a shame. I think you'd enjoy the series.


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