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Wednesday 6 March 2013

‘The Dance of the Seagull’ by Andrea Camilleri

Published by Mantle, 14 March 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-4472-2871-4 (Hardback)
28 February 2013. ISBN: 978-1-4472-2992-6 (Royal Trade Paperback)

The Camilleri stories featuring Inspector Montalbano of the Sicilian police will be familiar to BBC 4 viewers. This is the latest addition to the series.

It begins with Montelbano, awake at dawn, witnessing the strange dance of a seagull on the beach outside his house before it dies. Montalbano is puzzled by this but he is about to collect his girlfriend Livia prior to a short holiday on the island. But just before they set off Montalbano realises that his colleague Fazio is missing. It appears that he was investigating a possible smuggling ring at the port; when Montalbano and his second-in-command Augello go to the port they find evidence that Fazio has abducted at gun-point. Then a witness tells Montalbano that he saw Fazio being beaten up in a remote rocky location; worse, the area is pitted with dry wells used by the Mafia for disposing of corpses. When Montalbano and his colleagues search the wells they find two bodies - but neither is Fazio. Is he alive or dead? And will Montalbano ever have his holiday with the long-suffering Livia?

This is a highly exciting and enjoyable story which convincingly depicts life in Sicily with all its maddening inefficiencies, its corruption and the ever-present sinister and shadowy Mafia. Yet at the same time there is warmth and humanity: the banter between Montalbano and his colleagues, even the bumbling but lovable Catarella, is sharp but affectionate. And the way of life, with good food and the ambience of the ancient and beautiful island, is well and attractively presented.

All in all, an excellent addition to the Montalbano canon and well worth reading.
Reviewer: Radmila May
Other novels by Andrea Camilleri include The Shape of Water, The Age of Doubt, August Heat and The Scent of the Night.

Andrea Camilleri is the author of many books, including his Montalbano series, which has been adapted for Italian television and translated into German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Japanese, Dutch, Swedish, and finally, English. He was born at Porto Empedocle, near Agrigento. His style is very particular as he mixes Italian and local dialect without however making it unreadable for those who are not from that part of Italy. Camilleri has won numerous homestigious literary awards in Italy as well as in France. He is married with three children and four grandchildren, and lives in Rome.

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