Angelica’s Smile - Andrea CamilleriVigata’s finest is back: this time in a novel which the eagle-eyed among you will have already seen in the UK as part of the latest season of Inspector Montalbano on BBC4. As ever, though, Stephen Sartarelli’s printed translations of Andrea Camilleri’s works are a delight and Angelica’s Smile, due in mid-June, is no different.

When members of Vigata’s elite are targeted in a series of burglaries, Salvo Montalbano reluctantly takes the case, which all seems a little tiresome to him. It soon becomes clear however, that more links this privileged few than simply their stolen possessions.

It isn’t long too before Montalbano finds himself taken with one of the victims, the beautiful Angelica. His idle fantasies develop into a powerful attraction until he can think of little else. He must focus his mind to solve this perplexing investigation before events spiral out of control.

This is episode 17 of the Montalbano series of novels, which has built up a huge following all over Europe. The RAI TV series has been a hit in the UK, but it’s Andrea Camilleri’s books which really bring the curmudgeonly commissario and the stunning Sicilian landscape to life. Montalbano’s my favourite fictional detective. I love his innate sense of justice, his lack of respect for authority and his willingness to bend rules for a higher purpose. His sense of mortality, his Epicureanism and his fear of commitment make him a complex, darkly comic character whose life is as steeped in irony as it is in crime.

Andrea Camilleri, now nearly 90 years old, is an author and poet of enormous standing in Italy and has sold over 10 million books. He says that the final Montalbano novel is already written. It’s been sitting on a backburner since 2007, in readiness for when he loses interest, or can no longer write. I for one, am in no hurry to read it.

Angelica’s Smile – Andrea Camilleri

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