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    Review of THE SNACK THIEF by Andrea Camilleri (see his website)


    Penguin, 2003

    Inspector Montalbano has two cases competing for his attention. In one, an Italian fishing boat was fired upon by a Tunisian gunboat, killing a fisherman. In the second, a retired man was found murdered in his apartment elevator. As Montalbano investigates (without missing a single meal), he discovers a bizarre connection between the deaths--a connection that includes the ever-present official corruption Sicily suffers from and that ties into all of Montalbano's hidden issues.

    With his usual style (apparently bumbling but barely hiding a sharp wit), Montalbano is able to 'solve' the mysteries. But knowing the answer and bringing some sort of justice are very different things. Montalbano has to dig deep into his bag of tricks to pull out a solution that satisfies his own peculiar sense of morality. Worse, from his perspective, it isn't only himself involved. A little boy and Montalbano's longtime lover, Livia are also at risk.

    Author Andrea Camilleri's (see more reviews of novels by Camilleri) Inspector Montalbano series combines humor, solid sleuthing; a wonderful view of small town life in Sicily that is alien but fascinating to most of its readers, and charming to everyone; with compelling social commentary. Although the setting is in Italy, the issues that Montalbano faces are universal.

    I have enjoyed the entire Inspector Montalbano series but so far, THE SNACK THIEF is the most powerful of a very strong series. Well done, Andrea Camilleri.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 6/18/04

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