When a construction company’s senior accountant is found dead on a work site, Inspector Montalbano can’t shake the feeling that the murdered man was trying to send a message.
The rain has been so relentless in Montalbano’s part of Sicily that construction sites across the area have been closed. But when a body is found at a site near Sicudiana, Montalbano must trudge through the mud to see where this man—who turns out to be Giugiù Nicotra, senior accountant—died. His body is discovered inside a large pipe, part of a new water main, but evidence suggests that he was shot elsewhere before making his way here. But why? As Montalbano and his team search for information on Nicotra, they put together a frustrating picture of work stoppages, phony inspections, and highly inflated prices for materials, an example of a broken system with which Montalbano is all too familiar. Distractions pile up as the team gets closer to finding the motive for murder, but the fishiness is immediately apparent—even the prosecutor, Jacono, admits that things aren’t adding up. When Montalbano realizes he’s “still at the opening lines of a play they want to put on,” he uses it to his advantage, quietly homing in on the guilty party as they start to believe they’re free. In this 22nd installment, Camilleri (A Nest of Vipers, 2017, etc.) shows us a more introspective and self-aware inspector, capable of questioning his own abilities, who steadfastly makes it to the bottom of this orchestrated crime with the calmness of a man who has already seen it all. From start to finish, the image of Nicotra in the pipe haunts the inspector, who keeps close to his chest the feeling that “the truth of [his] death is to be found here.”
The usual humor and strong personalities we expect from Camilleri will be missed by fans in this book, but the more intricate portrait of the detective will make the pages turn anyway.