Monday, June 18, 2012

The Shape of Water

Reading the first novel of a detective series always fills me with anticipation.  Will this be a series I will like and give me pleasure over multiple books?  It was with that hope that I picked up The Shape of Water, featuring Inspector Salvo Montalbano, a police detective in Sicily.  By the end, I was pleased to add another European mystery series to my 'read more' list.

The novel opens when Silvio Luparello, a successful developer and political power, is found, literally, with his pants down in The Pasture, an insalubrious area around a deserted factory where local go to seek out prostitutes.  Luparello died of a heart attack in a highly compromising situation.  According to everyone, it looks like an open and closed case of death by natural causes, but Montalbano does not find the scenario implied to be credible.

As he digs deeper, he finds inconsistencies.  One of the most curious details is pointed out by Luparello's widow, the fact that his underpants are on inside out.  The cast of characters widens to include families, political rivals, and others out to seize the advantage afforded by Luparello's death.  Montalbano proceeds to solve the case, protecting and doing good deeds for the (relatively) innocent in the process.

Montalbano is both detail oriented and highly intuitive, with a kind streak.  In other words, he's a character I wouldn't mind spending more time with.  And joy of joys, thirteen of his books have been translated into English!

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