Rounding the Mark by Andrea Camilleri

Resuming my investigation of great detectives of the world, I’m back in Italy.  

Inspector Montalbano is ponderous–sluggish, even–and, as is demonstrated in the work of other stars of the Italian murder mystery, he must labor not only through the duplicity and villainy of the assorted characters involved in perpetrating the mayhem, but through the treacherous law-enforcement apparatus of the Italian police.  Once he works his way through the murk, and sees the glimmer of light, however, he pushes the case along with alacrity to its conclusion.  This is a neat story, with two apparently unconnected murders coming to a solution simultaneously.

One of the delights of this story is the repartee.  Since I come from a background of Italian folks, I especially enjoyed this here.  There is an operatic nature in lots of Italian conversation, (whether spoken in English or Italian), with lots of performance, cajoling, kidding and a generous dose of hyperbole.  While this translation seems a little clumsy in patches in this regard, there is still visible the generous, expressive shrug, the dead-pan punch line and the put-on.

It is a wonderful, straightforward read, with more than a little genuinely rendered pathos and humor, so I’m looking forward to another visit to Sicily.



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