Monday, March 5, 2012

THE SNACK THIEF by Andrea Camilleri

     There comes a moment--he thought--when you realize your life has changed. But when did it happen? you ask yourself. And you have no answer. Unnoticed events kept accumulating until, one day, a transformation occurred--or perhaps they were perfectly visible events, whose importance and consequences, however, you never took into account. You ask yourself over and over, but the answer to that "when" never comes. As if it mattered!
     Montalbano, for his part, has a precise answer to that question. My life changed, he would have said, on the twelfth of May.


Andrea Camilleri’s The Snack Thief is one of the best books in the Montalbano series.

Inspector Montalbano and his crew investigate two crimes. Someone knifes an old man in an elevator. And the crew of a Tunisian patrol boat machine gun an Italian fishing trawler in international waters. They kill one person.

Montalbano and his crew find the two events to be connected, though not directly related.

As the story unfolds, Montalbano’s life changes. He reveals more of his personal life, his growing up years, than ever before. And he takes on more personal responsibility.

He still disguises his humanity with a harder, practical outer shell, but he is even more human, more caring and fallible, than I remembered him to be.

The story hinges on an abandoned little boy who steals snacks to live. Montalbano himself comes to love the child. He makes a massive change in his own life to save the child.

The Snack Thief is somewhat different than the other books. It still has the wonderful meals, the ins and outs of Italian bureaucracy (even the secret service), the Sicilian humor, the hard, practical detective. And it still has Salvo Montalbano, the ethical cop who follows his own strangely-caring code. But this time the story is more personal. It shows us something extra about a man who was already one of my favorite police procedural heroes.

I always look forward to reading about Salvo Montalbano.

Stephen Sartarelli translated this book.


Richard R. said...

This is a series I've been meaning to read, and this has pushed me to do something about it. I have this and a couple others on order and will dig in as soon as they arrive! Thanks!

Joe Barone said...

You are welcome. I hope you like the book.

Todd Mason said...

This novel was also the first of the MONTALBANO books to be adapted for the Italian television series, which starts up again (with subtitles) on the small US public broadcasting network MHz Worldview on April 1. for local affiliates around the country...

Joe Barone said...

Interesting information. Thanks.