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I've tried to get into this book twice and failed on both occasions. Am I going to try again? Everyone but me seems to love his work. Perhaps third time lucky.


Ii just finished a Magret and was not impressed at all. But there are so many, maybe I picked the wrong one. I like him as a character but don't care for his pipe smoking and the wife sitting at home cooking....
I haven't read Camilleri for the simple reason that he is THE crime author in Switzerland and Germany. One could think he isn't only the only Italian crime writer but almost the only one there is. And the book covers are pretty lame. The Italian and English covers are very nice but not the German ones. Odd. I will try him now, I'm sure I will like him...


Camilleri's books are slight but if one approaches them as metaphors for the corruption of Italy, a ruined but beautiful country, and the rage (but humour) felt by the author and through him, his characters, I think they are very rewarding. I agree they are not works of great literature but light reading - even so, superior light reading, and often the themes are very telling, serious ones.

Camilleri is very popular in Italy possibly partly due to the TV series based on his novels. Even so, there are many other good, popular Italian novelists as you write, Danielle, which can be discovered via the Italian Mysteries website or clicking on "Italy" at Euro Crime - or go straight here: I particularly like Carofiglio, but also enjoy Lucarelli and Carlotto. Newly tranlsated authors Perissinotto and Varesi (see Euro Crime reviews) are promising, also. Of course there are good non-Italian authors writing about Italy, notably Leon and Nabb, but I usually prefer the native authors' perspective.

(Thanks for the link to my Euro Crime review, by the way, much appreciated!)


Very interesting and well-thought out review. You definitely made me want to seek this book out. (That happens a lot and is a danger when reading your blog!)


I remember the first time I tried this book I wasn't enjoying it and had to put it aside. Second time, I really liked it. I've read a couple of others in the series and they really do grow on you. Looking forward to hearing what you think of Nabb. I didn't have much luck with one of her books but I would consider trying her again.

Margaret Powling

Would you believe that, on reading a review of this book more than 18 months, perhaps two years ago, I bought it and then put it to one side, as you do, in the TBR pile. I eventually gave it away to someone as a birthday present, so now I shall simply have to buy another copy as it sounds one I might enjoy although I do notice that some have commented that they have tried a couple of times to get into it and need to try again. I'm now willing to have a stab (har har) at it! But I've just ordered three books ... it might have to go on the Wish List!


Annie--It sounds like you're not the only reader to need more than on try at Camilleri's books. It does have a different feel to it than a typical detective novel. I'd had the book for quite a while before I started reading it, so maybe mood and timing really make a difference here.
Caroline--I think Maigret novels are very traditional--in that the wife stays at home! Simenon wrote loads of these and at a quick pace from what I understand so not surprising if he has a fair few bombs in amongst his books. Have you tried any of the non-Maigret stories--I think I like those almost better. I've not read many Maigret books but would like to try more. Interesting that Camilleri is so popular, though maybe not too surprising from what I've read. I think he sells well over here but there's lots of competition with crime novels it seems. I will have to see what the German covers look like--I like the US versions--I'm guessing they must all be by the same artist. You're lucky as you can read him in the original Italian (though are Italian language books easy to come by where you are?).
Maxine--I'm looking forward to reading more of Camilleri's books as I have a feeling they are very good at giving a sense of place and politics. I've not really read a lot of Italian fiction (which is part of the reason I'm reading a bit more this summer), so I am curious to learn more about the real culture. Even if they feel light--I think it has more to do with the length of the story rather than writing style, which is really very good. I've got Lucarelli's first book and am reading one by Nabb, and I have read a number of Donna Leon's mysteries, but the rest you mention are new to me. I would like to find an Italian woman writing crime fiction, however, so I'll take a look at Euro Crime's links and see if I'm missing someone--thanks.
Kathy--I think I'm ready to start the next Montalbano mystery--I wouldn't mind staying in Sicily a little longer. If you like crime fiction or detective stories he is worth checking out!
Iliana--It took me a while to pick up one of Camilleri's books but I liked it more than I was expecting to. He does seem like someone who grows on you--I broke down and ordered the next few to have on hand. So far I like Magdalen Nabb--very different than the Camilleri book, though it seem as though the Marshal is ill, so I wonder if I will even get to really 'meet' him this time around!
Margaret--I hate to think about how many books I could say that about! Actually I bet I've had that Camilleri novel for a few years at least--it was about time that I picked it up--and good timing obviously. Maybe he's just an author you really like or really don't. He seems quite popular, but it also seems though it has taken some readers several tries to really click with his work. I've just bought a few books myself, which I'll have to share here soon!


Is this the first in a series then or are all his books standalone? Either way, nice that you liked it and now have a good many others to look forward to!


Stefanie--This is the first of more than a dozen books--so I have my work cut out for me it seems! I like Montalbano, so I'll definitely be reading more!


I'm so glad to see you review this series as I have had one of the books from it sitting on my shelf for ages, without feeling any real incentive to pick it up! Now I have a better idea of what the book is like and so have a chance of finding the right moment to read it!


Litlove--I had this for years too and often looked at it and then set it back. Not sure why. I am happy I finally read it, though, as I very much like Inspector Montalbano and will be interested to read more. It's a quickie when you are in the mood for a little crime fiction.

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