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Excursion to Tindari (Montalbano 5) [Hardcover]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Excursion to Tindari has some of the best humor based on human elimination since Rabelais. Who else but Andrea Camilleri would indulge his character development in such an imaginative and earthy way?

An ongoing theme in the book is the troubled nature of love between men and women. You will find the exposition to provide much room for chuckles and smiles.

The mysteries are subtle and puzzling . . . with the ultimate causal strings well hidden until near the end. Those who love challenging mysteries will feel well rewarded.

Ultimately, Excursion to Tindari is more character development about Inspector Montalbano than it is a mystery. But the book is much more mystery, if you look only at that dimension, than all but a few mysteries that will come out in any given year. As someone who loves great character development and difficult-to-solve mysteries, I was in heaven while reading this delightful book.

A young man is assassinated, professional-style, on his doorstep. He comes from a poor family and his work doesn't pay much. Where did he get all those expensive belongings?

An unfriendly elderly couple takes an excursion on a bus to Tindari, and don't even get off the bus until just before the trip ends. After that, no one can find them. What's going on?

A Mafia don tells Montalbano to call on him. Even with great caution, can Montalbano avoid being used for the don's purposes?

In the background, Montalbano is very upset to learn that Mimi Augello, his right hand man, has fallen in love with a policewoman in another town and is thinking about moving. Can anything be done?
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Excursion to Tindari has some of the best humor based on human elimination since Rabelais. Who else but Andrea Camilleri would indulge his character development in such an imaginative and earthy way?

An ongoing theme in the book is the troubled nature of love between men and women. You will find the exposition to provide much room for chuckles and smiles.

The mysteries are subtle and puzzling . . . with the ultimate causal strings well hidden until near the end. Those who love challenging mysteries will feel well rewarded.

Ultimately, Excursion to Tindari is more character development about Inspector Montalbano than it is a mystery. But the book is much more mystery, if you look only at that dimension, than all but a few mysteries that will come out in any given year. As someone who loves great character development and difficult-to-solve mysteries, I was in heaven while reading this delightful book.

A young man is assassinated, professional-style, on his doorstep. He comes from a poor family and his work doesn't pay much. Where did he get all those expensive belongings?

An unfriendly elderly couple takes an excursion on a bus to Tindari, and don't even get off the bus until just before the trip ends. After that, no one can find them. What's going on?

A Mafia don tells Montalbano to call on him. Even with great caution, can Montalbano avoid being used for the don's purposes?

In the background, Montalbano is very upset to learn that Mimi Augello, his right hand man, has fallen in love with a policewoman in another town and is thinking about moving. Can anything be done?
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspector Salvo Montalbano vs. Commissario Guido Brunetti May 16 2005
By takingadayoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As someone who only reads a few mystery novels a year, I was overwhelmed to discover both Andrea Camilleri and Donna Leon at about the same time. Camilleri's Inspector Salvo Montalbano stories and Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti novels are so good that I wanted to read them all and was delighted to find that both authors have written at least a dozen books each. Only five or six of Camilleri's have been translated into English from the original Italian so far, but more are on the way. And many of Leon's are out of print in the U.S., but perhaps that will change in the near future.

These are compelling mysteries that draw you right in and keep you hooked right up to the satisfying, if not always happy, conclusions. But that almost goes without saying. What keeps you coming back for more are the characters and the extras, in this case, the backdrops of Sicily and Venice.

Stephen Sartarelli's translations of the Camilleri books are marvelous. It isn't hard to translate a book, but it is difficult to do well. He strikes the perfect balance of translating most things, but turning to explanation when translating would destroy the mood. There are a few pages of explanations at the end of each book, describing pastas and exchange rates and cultural references. For instance, he translates education-impaired cop Catarella's rough speech into something Brooklyn-esque, but he explains Boghonghi the Dwarf, apparently a famous character to most Italians, but not to Americans. (Example of a bad translation -- I remember seeing a dubbed version of the French movie A Man and a Woman that completely destroyed the romantic mood when they replaced the Edith Piaf song playing on the car radio in the original version with a dubbed ragtime tune.)

I can't say which series is better, I tend to think that whichever I am reading at the moment is my favorite.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'hard boiled' detective is softer in Italy --and better March 4 2006
By A. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love mysteries, but not thrillers, and had moved nearly my entire bookshelf to Britain and its writers, but I thought I had exhausted Amazon's list. On a whim, I tried Inspector Montalbano. He is alternately rude and kind to his squad. He approaches cases indirectly, with intuition more than reasoning (he IS Italian, after all). He is a faithful but unreliable lover. He eats well and has enormous sympathy for villans and their victims. Frankly, I get so wrapped up in his world I lose track of the plot, but it doesn't matter. Another reviewer quibbled about the translation details but that doesn't bother me either. This is an engaging, complex lead character, with some lovely supporting actors-- a great buffoonish cop, a steady and sober right hand man who doesn't deserve the grief Montalbano heaps on and a busy (fictional) small city that lives with priests and mafioso with equal acceptance. Very enjoyable, very readable with mood and sometimes writing like crystal. Unlike Donna Leon's Venician detective (who is wonderful but like reading an Italian "cozy"), Camilleri is harder edged and sharper eyed. A real pleasure.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crime is Secondary Jan. 19 2006
By Elfinstone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came upon Inspector Montalbano when I ran out of Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti mysteries. Recklessly, I ordered two Montalbano books at once, author unfamiliar, and read the first one, The Shape of Water. Frankly, I didn't think much of the story and was put off by the crudeness of the language. If I hadn't also bought the second one, Excursion to Tindari, I would have been deprived of a delightful excursion into Sicilian life and the charming (sometimes) Salvo Montalbano. This book is more expansive, doesn't deal exclusively with sex as did the first book, and leisurely introduces us to Montalbano's characteristics: gourmet/gourmand; bad boy; antiauthoritarian; well-read intellectual; commitment phobic lover;intuitive; wit; humanist. His investigations are always unorthodox and often fun. He incessantly abuses the men in his squad who are all somewhat quirky, but they are extremely loyal to him. As someone in another review said, the resolution of the crime isn't the main point, it's the journey there that's the best part of his novels. I have since read The Terra Cotta Dog, The Snack Thief and am almost through with the last one, The Smell of the Night, which I am savoring. I do appreciate the translator's glossary at the back of the book. It helps retain the original flavor of the language while at the same time enlightening the non-Italian reader. (I wish Donna Leon would do this.) I found a website that lists five more untranslated books. I sure hope Mr. Santarelli is busy working on them.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again, the best ... Feb. 23 2005
By A. Pearson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wait anxiously for each new translation (Stephen Sartarelli is peerless, but I may have to give up waiting and just learn Italian). Excursion to Tindari has everything I savor in the Inspector Montalbano stories: a cynical but loving view of humanity, startling and unique characters captured with just a few brushstrokes, a great puzzle that unfolds in an honest narration ... fantastic food, and just a tease of both Livia and Ingrid. Poetry, memory and imagination twisted together. I try to make myself read slowly, while dying to know what's on the next page. At least when I read too fast, I can start over again sooner.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Montalbano rides again! Sept. 27 2005
By K. J. Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is my fourth Montalbano mystery and it is the best. Perhaps I've just gotten to enjoy his company so much over the years, but Camilleri outdoes himself on Excursion to Tindari. What make Montalbano so enjoyable is that he and his mates at the Vigata police station seem so real and believable. Camilleri is an artist and paints a beautiful rendering of a man at the middle of his life. The portrait of Sicilian life is captivating and memorable.

If I can find fault with the series, it is that the final resolutions are somewhat less than satisfying. But with Camilleri, it is the journey not the destination that makes his works so enjoyable. If you enjoy Camilleri, you may also want to try Leonardo Sciascia as well.
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