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THE POTTER'S FIELD by Andrea Camilleri

THE POTTER'S FIELD

By Andrea Camilleri

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-14-312013-1
Publisher: Penguin

Inspector Montalbano has extra difficulty solving a murder with biblical echoes when everyone around him gives him a taste of his own bristly medicine.

After a disturbing dream, veteran Sicilian detective Salvo Montalbano awakens groggily to a ringing telephone and the report of a dead body found in the woods. It's a rainy day to boot, so Montalbano is anxious to finish the job and get dry. But his two sidekicks, Mimì and Fazio, are more interested in finishing a game than recovering the bagged corpse, and Catarella, the junior member of the team, further complicates the operation. In the end, the retrieval process proves to be a muddy comedy of errors, exacerbated by the fact that the body "drifts," ending up in pieces, and by the sheer irascibility of Pasquale Ajena, who first found it on his land. Far from an anomaly, the prickly behavior of everyone around Montalbano seems to become a pattern, most disturbingly in his formerly devoted lover Livia, whose sudden contrariness agitates but doesn't change him. Could the crazed motorist who gets his jollies by nearly hitting a young female pedestrian be connected to the dismembered victim? Is the crime really connected to the Mafia? Why has Mimì kept his recent marriage a secret? And why is Catarella weeping?

Montalbano has never been one for just the facts, ma'am, but his 13th recorded case (The Track of Sand, 2010, etc.) goes appealingly over the top into slapstick and character-driven farce. Especially recommended for series fans and mystery readers who enjoy the journey more than the solution.