With his eye for beautiful women, his taste for fine literature and a tendency to stop in his tracks to indulge in a meal, the idiosyncratic Montalbano is totally endearing.
Marilyn Stasio - New York Times Book Review
The joys of August Heat arise less from the central plot than from its margins: Montalbano's never-flagging fondness for food, his ruminations on aging and his commentaries on Italian society.... Often, the investigation serves as a kind of scaffolding from which to hang skit-length romps.... But the occasional absurdity doesn't detract from the novel's myriad pleasures.
Camilleri's 10th mystery to feature Sicilian Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2008's Paper Moon) cleverly balances a compelling story line with engaging characters. Urged by his girlfriend, Livia, to find a summer rental for a friend of hers in Vigàta, Montalbano ends up selecting a house with a tainted past. The man who built the house died in a fall soon after its construction, and his 20-year-old stepson, Ralf Gudrun, vanished. After the young son of Livia's friend disappears, Montalbano finds the missing boy, essentially unharmed, but in the process stumbles upon a corpse, later identified as that of an attractive 16-year-old girl who disappeared six years earlier. Suspects include a real estate developer with unhealthy sexual appetites as well as the missing Gudrun. While the solution is less complicated than, say, those Peter Lovesey provides for his similar series sleuth, Peter Diamond, the humor and humanity of Montalbano make him an equally winning lead character.
Montalbano’s various weaknesses lead directly to the troubling finale, leaving him forced to, yes, strip off his clothes one more time and dive into the sea, hoping to swim away his regrets. Combine the movies Body Heat and The Seven-Year Itch, blending the noir of the former with the farce of the latter, and you have something like this beguiling tragicomedy. —Bill Ott
The victim in Inspector Salvo Montalbano's tenth case (The Paper Moon, 2008, etc.) has been waiting six years in a chest in an illegally constructed apartment. It's not easy to find a Sicilian beach house for rent during August. So when his girlfriend Livia, denied a vacation with the inspector by his colleague's change of summer plans, insists that he find a rental for her friend Laura, Montalbano's proud of his discovery, until the plagues begin: cockroaches, mice, spiders, floods. Finally Laura's toddler disappears-into a pit, it turns out, that leads to a secret ground-floor apartment constructed and buried in defiance of the building code. It's the exact duplicate of Laura's apartment, except for the corpse in the chest. The victim, 16-year-old Caterina Morreale, was obviously assaulted and killed by someone who had access to the apartment on the day it was hidden from view to await a government amnesty on illegal construction. Was the killer well-connected contractor Michele Spitaleri, who liked his girls young? Foreman Angelino Dipasquale? Mason Gaspare Micciche? Watchman Filiberto Attanasio, a habitual offender? Or Ralf Speciale, late stepson of the German businessman for whom the apartment was built? With help from a most unusual young woman, Montalbano battles the usual corruption, incompetence and indifference, compounded this time by heat that repeatedly moves him to strip to his underwear. He comes up with a solution as satisfying as it is unsurprising. Despite its noirish undertones, the perfect beach read for those lucky enough to have found suitable accommodations.
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