Beleaguered Inspector Montalbano and his ragtag Sicilian force probe a twisty arson case and pursue a serial kidnapper with a surpassingly odd M.O.
It’s a particularly chaotic morning for Montalbano. An aggressive fly awakens him very early from a sound sleep, he confronts a pair of brawling men in the street and is misidentified as a miscreant, and he returns home to an intruder knocked out by his housekeeper with a frying pan—all before breakfast. The strangeness continues at his favorite trattoria, where owner Enzo’s niece Michela reports having been kidnapped and shoved into a car trunk late the previous evening but released without being robbed or harmed in any way. When finally Montalbano arrives at the station, he learns that there was another identical abduction. The only similarity seems to be that both victims work at a bank. Montalbano is just beginning to unravel these crimes when another pops up: a fire at the electronics store of Marcello Di Carlo, who’s gone missing after an island vacation during which he reportedly fell in love. All that seems to be missing from his personal effects are his computer and photos of the young woman he met on vacation, though there are stacks of photos of many other women from Di Carlo’s recent dating past. Both cases have many twists, with both murder and a mummy on the Montalbano menu.
Another wry, amiable procedural from the prolific Camilleri (A Nest of Vipers, 2017, etc.), whose unflappably put-upon hero soldiers on no matter how absurd the crime or aggravating the situation.