The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri
|The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The ninth book in the Montalbano series and they're still fresh and original. Superb plotting and excellent characters make this as close to perfect as a police procedural can be. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: January 2009|
Michela Pardo was worried about her brother. They were close but Angelo had not been in contact with his family for several days. It's only with reluctance that Inspector Salvo Montalbano accompanies her to her brother's apartment and then only as an afterthought that they check the laundry room on the roof. Angelo Pardo had been shot in the face at point blank range and to add insult to injury his trousers are unzipped and left in a rather revealing way.
I do love these books. They're about as close to perfection as it's possible to get. Every time I start reading I think that the mystery is going to be solved quite simply – after all, the book itself is slim, the font easy on the eyes. How much substance can there really be in the book? There's even room for playful banter between the police colleagues, for an assistant whose massacre of the language could be tedious in less-skilled hands. Surely the plot can't be that complex?
But complex it is, with two beautiful women as suspects and one of them has a husband who knows all about her affair with Angelo Pardo. Can it really be that he not only condones it, but seems to encourage it? Why have two prominent politicians died recently, apparently of natural causes and what was their connection with the dead man? Add in some lethal cocaine, a computer which seems determined not to give up its secrets and a series of threatening letters and Montalbano struggles to make sense of it all. I lost count of the number of times when I thought that I had the 'whodunit' settled only to find that there were a few more twists to the story. This is plotting at its best.
This is the ninth book in the series but Camilleri manages to keep the stories and the characters fresh. They're all stand-alone novels too – you might see individuals change, but if you read the books out of order nothing will spoil your enjoyment of an earlier story. I found more emphasis on Sicily in the earlier books but now the landscape and the glorious food simply permeates the atmosphere. Some of the strength of the book (when read in English) is down to the wonderful translation by poet Stephen Sartarelli but he couldn't make it better than the original.
It's difficult to suggest crime novels which compare with the Montalbano series. Donna Leon seems simply workmanlike in comparison. Even Michael Dibdin pales into insignificance. He's probably best compared with Ian Rankin at his best.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri is in the Top Ten Crime Novels.
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