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THE PAPER MOON by Andrea Camilleri


by Andrea Camilleri & translated by Stephen Sartarelli

Pub Date: March 25th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-14-311300-3
Publisher: Penguin

Two seductive suspects battle for the allegiance and libido of a weary detective.

Beautiful Michela Pardo demands to see Sicilian Police Inspector Montalbano about her missing brother Angelo. With Michela hovering behind him, Montalbano finds Angelo’s body in his apartment, shot at close range and seated in a chair with his member hanging out of his open fly. Angelo’s endeavors as an informant certainly brought him into contact with many unsavory characters, but the Inspector assumes there’s a recent lover with crucial information. Michela readily offers a name—Elena Sclafani—and a description—whore. Beautiful, blond Elena seems blithe and equally unconcerned with being married and being a murder suspect. She and her much older husband, it seems, have an arrangement. The news from the autopsy that Angelo did not have sex shortly before his death should send the investigation into other directions, but both women pursue Montalbano so aggressively, each with the intention of implicating the other, that he continues to follow up on leads pointing to them. What the flattered Inspector finds most revealing is the widely divergent portraits of the victim his pair of prime suspects offer. At length he consults Angelo’s previous love, the frank Paolo, to unearth the enigmatic victim’s true nature, which lies at the mystery’s heart.

Another solid Sicilian noir from the ironic pen of Camilleri (The Patience of the Spider, 2007, etc.).