The Potter's Field Paperback – Sep 27 2011
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“…one of the best installments in the entire Inspector Montalbano series.” — The New York Journal of Books
About the Author
Andrea Camilleri is an internationally bestselling author. He lives in Rome.
Stephen Sartarelli is an award-winning translator and poet. He lives in France.
Top Customer Reviews
'Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it';
'Let another take his office.'"
-- Acts 1:19-20 (NKJV)
It's hard to know what to praise more: the engaging story by Andrea Camilleri or the superb translation by Stephen Sartarelli. Since I can't read Italian, I'll just split the difference in sharing with you that The Potter's Field is a terrific book. If you like police procedurals, The Potter's Field is an exceptionally fine example.
The plot, while impressive in its complications, takes back seat to the marvelous character development in the book focused on Inspector Salvo Montalbano and his friend and subordinate, Inspector Mimi Augello.
Mimi is grumpy all the time . . . and seems to be blaming Montalbano for whatever the cause is. Mimi's behavior is also uncharacteristic. What could be the problem?
As in all of the best Montalbano stories, the inspector relies more on careful thinking than on fieldwork or crime scene investigations. He even draws on analysis of his own dreams to figure out what's really going on. As such, Montalbano is more in the grand tradition of Nero Wolfe than the 86th Precinct.
Before long, Montalbano understands what's probably going on and realizes that he has a problem: Mimi is in a delicate position from which only Montalbano can extract him. How will looking out for a friend work with trying to locate a murderer?
Andrea Camilleri rewards his readers with lots of humorous scenes, ironically funny references, and just-plain slapstick.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A bag containing a dismembered body is found in a field. The owner sells the clay in his field to potters, so you could call it a potter's field. There's a biblical allusion here, but I'll leave it to you to figure it out. Better yet, read the book!
The delicious complexity of the plot creeps up on you, so I won't say anything about it. I was only calmly interested for a while but finally got inextricably caught up.
In this book we watch Inspector Montalbano shed crocodile tears and real tears. We see him at odds with his own detectives. We watch his appetite go from poor to ravenous and back, more than once. He's subjected to the allure of a spectacularly gorgeous young woman and the mature charms of an old lover. He examines his conscience and is startled by what he finds.
In other words, this book, like every Montalbano mystery, is a feast of surging Sicilian emotions interspersed with mouthwatering Sicilian dishes that we eat vicariously with the inspector. Comic moments abound. And Montalbano's excitable assistant Catarella has plenty of opportunities to garble messages and barge explosively through doors.
If you're only just discovering Andrea Camilleri, I envy you. You have all his books ahead of you. I'd suggest reading every one. If you're a Montalbano fan, I think you'll be quite delighted with this latest arrival. I was.
In "The Potter's Field", Inspector Montalbano faces a murder case that begins with the discovery of a chopped up body in a bag; a mini-rebellion and malaise at his police station; and the daily personal struggles with the human aging process. The strongest part of this fine crime novel is, as always with author Camilleri, the interplay of the wonderfully colorful characters. There are times when you can imagine Fellini orchestrating this rich mix. The procedural element of the story is relatively transparent, but Montalbano's deductions and moves toward solving the central crime of the book are not, and therefore the book's conclusion(s)--to the reader's pleasure--is invisible until the last few pages.
This book has it all--an intelligent and engrossing plot, great characters and entertaining cultural notes (Montalbano is a gourmand whose many encounters with Sicilian cuisine are recorded by the author in minute detail). Highly recommended.
A fabulous detective story and novel.
The author makes me feel I am in Sicily again and I love Salvo with all his many human qualities. I think there is a great job of fleshing out the main players and the feel, smell and taste of the area...a great, great read...the translation is as exquisite as the story....very tasty stuff