The investigation of a string of burglaries becomes ticklishly complicated when the rumpled investigator finds himself entranced by one of the victims.
Closing in on 60 and jaded to the max, droll Sicilian Inspector Montalbano views nearly every crime as a nuisance, including a series of burglaries perpetrated on wealthy locals. Nevertheless, he and quirky subordinates Catarella and Fazio set about dutifully interviewing victims. The crime scenes and the list of articles taken, including luxury cars, mark the burglars as pros. So Montalbano compiles a list of known high-end thieves alongside the growing list of victims. Two developments amp up his interest in the case. First, he begins receiving taunting messages, presumably from the leader of the thieves, a "Mr. Z," calling this a game and daring him to play. Not long after, he goes to interview the latest victim and falls in love as never before. Angelica Cosulich, head teller at a local bank, is appealingly attentive to him. She's named after the heroine of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, passages of which Montalbano mentally repeats with her in mind. Nor does his infatuation pass unnoticed at the station house. Meanwhile, his tempestuous lady love Livia is particularly unpredictable, aloof one minute and intrusively devoted the next. Just when the case seems hopelessly blocked, a body in a ditch and a surprising suicide blow it wide open.
Montalbano's 18th recorded case (Treasure Hunt, 2013, etc.) is slight but sublime, with droll dialogue, colorful characters and a sleek pace.