Monday, November 16, 2009

The Smell of the Night

Originally published in 2001, Andrea Camilleri's The Smell of the Night deals with a Bernard Madoff-type ponzi scheme.   

A crooked investor makes off with people's money, billions of lire.  Inspector Montalbano investigates and finds the principals murdered.

I picked up this book because it was cheap.  It added just enough to a Christmas gift order to get free shipping.  

And of course, I enjoy Inspector Montalbano.  One of the first things he does when he learns of the ponzi scheme, is that he thinks of a situation in which he has made an investment.  He gets it in his head that his investment (for a struggling friend) has been lost in the swindle.  

Of course, the investment he is thinking about hasn't come anywhere near the Madoff-ponzi-schemer. But that doesn't keep Montalbano from stewing until finally he can trace things back.

That may seem to be such a silly thing, but it is so Sicilian (or, at least, so it seems to me).  Having come from a Sicilian father myself, and having inherited a lot of the Sicilian personality (as far away from it as I am), I truly understand.  If I had a nickel for each time I've made up a problem which doesn't exist, I'd be rich.

That's a trite thing to say, but it is true!

So I love Montalbano.  He explains a lot about me.  

And the stories are good stories too, not exceptional, but very readable about interesting people.

As with so much of my reading, I stumbled on Montalbano through a blog.  I have been well rewarded by the two books I've read so far.  There are a lot of the Montalbano books, I think.  I will probably try to read them all. 

Extra note: Stephen Sartarelli translates the books.  Without him, I couldn't have read the books.  These books are wonderful to read.  I get the feeling the translator is a master translator.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Darn, I just gave one away without reading it. Always trying to wean my pile down to a manageable height.

Joe Barone said...

I understand. Sometimes I am daunted by the pile of my stack of books too.

Richard R. said...

Darn, another completely new-to-me author and series that sounds pretty interesting. It appears to be an $11 paperback (not cheap in my opinion) and isn't available on BookSwap, so I'll wait. If you or anyone comes across a cheaper copy, let me know!

Yvette said...

Even before I read and enjoyed your review I'd already decided to read Camilleri's books this summer. First Donna Leon, then off to Sicily.

Joe Barone said...

Richard and Yvette,

Thanks for checking in. I especially like Andrea Camilleri for the reasons I talked about in this review. Montalbano's personality seems so Italian to me.