Montalbano’s First Case by Andrea Camilleri

montalbano's first case

Montalbano’s First Case by Andrea Camilleri
Translated by Gianluca Rizzo and Dominic Siracusa
Mondadori/Open Road Integrated Media, October 2013
Originally published as La prima indagine di Montalbano, 2004
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

It feels strange to call a crime novel delightful given the subject matter, but Camilleri manages to balance out the violence of the crime Montalbano investigates with the humor and bits of life that make him human. I’ve only read the first novel in the series, but I’m already a fan of this series. In this novella, Montalbano is 35, apprenticed in the mountains and eager for a placement by the sea. Once he moves to Vigata, he investigates a thwarted shooting of a public official instead of an actual murder, and Montalbano displays plenty of skill in dealing with corrupt government officials as he pursues the case.

My English edition only contains one story unlike the three billed in the Italian edition. It appears that the other two stories in the Italian collection take place in Mascalippe, in the mountains of Sicily, before Montalbano is promoted to Inspector and moves to Vigata, on the Mediterranean. The novella feels like a Camilleri novel in miniature, which is a compliment, and it was nice to meet some of the characters when they are a great deal younger. Not all of the regulars appear in this story.

9 thoughts on “Montalbano’s First Case by Andrea Camilleri

  1. Rebecca – Oh, I’m such a Camilleri fan. It’s very good to hear you liked this one; sometimes those ‘prequels’ don’t work well, but I’m glad to hear this one did for you. It’s just moved up on my TBR.

  2. Youi must see the dvd’s of “The Young Montalbano” TV series from Italy. They are wonderful — a young, dashing Montalbano, with a full head of hair, before cynicism sets in. Really excellent programs, and the sea views from Vigata are gorgeous.
    A friend said to me, “The young Montalbano is so much cuter than the older, balding
    one.” Michele Riondino is adorable, although just as intense as his older incarnation.

  3. Interesting. I have also read only one of this series, the first one. I have a few more books in the series so I can continue it. I have read so much good about the series. Not sure if I will read this one for a while.

    • I read prequels any time in a series: they’re great if I just want a quick read. Once I read this I instantly remembered loving the first in the series, which is saying something. I usually forget what I read.

  4. I sure hope Santa brings you the dvd set of The Young Montalbano. MHZ Networks carries this series, as well as that about the older curmudgeonly detective.
    I figure I can watch this set about once a year and enjoy it.

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