Not even his home is safe from repeated violation in Chief Inspector Salvo Montalbano’s latest case.
Awakening from unpleasant dreams, Chief Inspector Montalbano discovers a dead horse lying on the beach outside his house in Marinella. The poor animal has clearly run quite a distance from the spot where it was attacked. But why would someone batter a horse with iron bars and then, while the investigating officers were having coffee, come back to steal the carcass? Rachele Esterman, who’s convinced the horse is her missing sorrel Super, can’t answer either question. Neither can Saverio Lo Duca, the wealthy friend who’d been boarding Super during her visit, and whose thoroughbred Rudy has also vanished. Which of the two horses collapsed outside Montalbano’s house, and how can he tell for sure? The quest for answers will lead him to a society fundraiser at Fiacca, where he’s squired by Rachele’s friend Ingrid Sjostrom—to a stable where Rachele expresses her eagerness to tarry with her interrogator; to a lonely road in Spinoccia, where mafia executioners have dumped a human corpse just as hard to identify as the horse; and back to his own home, where thieves break in twice, once to steal a watch, the second time to return it.
Unlike Donna Leon’s Venice, with its constant drip-drip-drip of official corruption, Camilleri’s Sicily has long since surrendered to despairing ennui. Suave, resourceful Montalbano (The Wings of the Sphinx, 2010, etc.) is both its perfect expression and its best hope for an antidote.