Sadly, Andrea Camilleri is not with us anymore. He passed away on July 19th, 2019, at the age of 93. ‘The end of the line’ is Number 24 in his most famous series of books that focus on Inspector Salvo Montalbano.
From the book blurb:
A wave of refugees has arrived on the Sicilian coast, and Inspector Montalbano and his team have been stationed at port, alongside countless volunteers, to receive and assist the newcomers. Meanwhile, Livia has promised their presence at a friend’s wedding, and the inspector, agreeing to get a new suit tailored, meets the charming master seamstress Elena Biasini. But while on duty at the dock one late night, tragedy strikes, and Elena is found gruesomely murdered. Between managing the growing crowds at the landing, Montalbano delves into the world of garments, in the company of an orphaned cat, where he works to weave together the loose threads of the unsolved crimes and close the case.
It was great to get transported to the world of Salvo Montalbano, his life partner Livia, his colleagues from the Vigata police station: Fazio, Cattarella, Mimi Augello. It always amazes me that Montalbano in the books is older, more tired and perhaps a bit more philosophical than the equally wonderful character created on screen by Luca Zingaretti. Inspector Montalbano series is one of those rare cases where I am in love with both the books and the TV adaptation. What I have always loved about the protagonist is his humanity, immense compassion and hate of hypocrisy. The book opens with the description of waves and waves of migrant boats arriving in Italy.. A political stance? Camilleri never shied away from expressing his views and his sympathy to the plight of the disadvantaged.
I always look forward to meeting the permanent cast (especially Fazio), but every novel introduces new unforgettable characters. At the centre of this novel is the murder of Elena, a female tailor/seamstress, possessing both beauty and charming personality. The way she was killed with a pair of cloth cutting scissors suggests a crime of passion, and there are several suspects that might have had their reasons to commit this gruesome murder. As usual, Camilleri’s characters turn out to be flawed and complex, and we get to see Inspector Montalbano at work, unravelling the mystery against the backdrop of a refugee crisis.
Camilleri was rightfully considered one of the greatest modern writers in Italy. His vivid images, masterful use of the Sicilian colloquialisms (in my opinion, Stephen Sartarelli does an amazing job translating Camilleri’s unique language) and quirky sense of humour make sure Montalbano mysteries are a treat for the fans of the genre.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.