Monday, February 13, 2023

The Overnight Kidnapper by Andrea Camilleri

First Line: At half past five that morning-- give or take a few minutes-- a fly that had long been glued to the windowpane as though dead suddenly opened its wings, rubbed them together to clean them, then took flight and, a moment later, changed direction and landed on the bedside table.
What with pesky flies and breaking up fistfights on the beach, Inspector Salvo Montalbano's day doesn't begin auspiciously. When he finally arrives at the police station, even stranger things await his attention.
A local woman was abducted, drugged, and then released unharmed a few hours later. The case gets much higher priority when the same thing happens a couple of days later. Both women are thirty years old and work in a bank. Montalbano also has to deal with an arson case in which the store owner has vanished. 
At first, this case of arson and a missing person seems trivial, but when a third woman is abducted (yet another young woman who works in a bank) and a body is found, the inspector finds himself with a whole new set of questions.


One of the reasons why I read Andrea Camilleri's series is because of its humor, but I have to admit that the humor has been lacking in the past few books. I am happy to say that the comedy is back in full force in The Overnight Kidnapper, and I enjoyed every second of it. The stories in the past few books seemed a bit lackluster to me as well, and that changed in this book, too. Perhaps it's due to something Camilleri says in the Afterward. Unlike the other recent books, The Overnight Kidnapper was not inspired by a newspaper article that the author read. It could be that giving himself a rest from the real world set him free to get back to the roots of this long-running series.

The story, with its arson case and the strange abductions of young women who worked in local banks, also kept me wondering what was going on, and-- as usual-- I enjoyed watching Montalbano figure it all out. Even if he can't find his way out of a hospital, Montalbano is a master (1) at knowing all the major crime figures on his patch, (2) how to work with his contacts in the local media, and (3) even more importantly, how to manipulate his aggravating superior.

If anything was lacking in this book, it was food. There were no real descriptions of the mouth-watering meals Montalbano usually enjoys. He went into his favorite restaurant, he ate, and then he walked along the jetty. Even his housekeeper didn't keep his refrigerator and oven filled with her usual feasts. Ah well. I suppose we all have to go on diets periodically.

With the death of Camilleri in 2019, there are no more new Montalbano mysteries, and I find myself wanting to read these last few even slower, to stretch out my enjoyment for as long as I can. This talented man created a cast of characters, an entire fictional world, that I have lived in happily for many years. It's always sad to have something like this end.

The Overnight Kidnapper by Andrea Camilleri
Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli.
ISBN: 9780143131137
Penguin © 2019
Paperback, 272 pages
Police Procedural, #23 Inspector Montalbano mystery
Rating: A
Source: Paperback Swap


  1. I really like the wit in this series, too, Cathy, so it's good to hear it plays more of a role here. But I'm stuck on the whole food thing. It's hard to get my head round a Camilleri that doesn't make me hungry with its descriptions of food... Oh, well, the story is the thing, and Camilleri's always been able to draw me in with his stories...

    1. I know! The lack of foodie content flabbergasted me.

  2. This series is one that I have on my (overlong) list to read. I do hope to get to it this year. If only I were a faster reader...


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