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The scent of the night [Paperback]

Andrea Camilleri
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The Smell of the Night is the only one of the first six books to lack a decent mystery. Inspector Montalbano is as amusing as ever as he trashes an uninhabited villa, challenges a tease, deals with the remnants of incompetent laundering, desperately searches for new places to dine, tries to show he isn't really middle-aged, and solves a crime he isn't supposed to go near. There's the usual byplay at the station as Catarella mangles words and Fazio tries to inveigle Montalbano to sign stacks of paperwork for hours. In between, there are delicious meals and quiet interludes to think things over.

The book's plot involves a missing financier, Emanuele Gargano, who appears to have been running a Ponzi scheme (paying out large returns to early investors by using the money deposited by new investors). When the payment date occurs, the financier is nowhere to be found. One of his staff members, Giacomo Pellegrino, is also gone. But the dedicated middle-aged teller, Mariastella Cosentino, still mans the office . . . despite threats from angered depositors. Another assistant, the attractive Michela Manganaro, is licking her wounds after not having been paid for two months. But she can dish the dirt, and Montalbano gets some helpful clues.

On the serious side, headquarters has learned about the adoption Montalbano had arranged after another case, and Montalbano has to cover his tracks. As he does, he finds some good and not-so-good news. In addition, Mimi is getting close to marriage . . . but cold feet are also setting in. Will his nerve hold?

Will Montalbano's relationship with Livia survive some prevarications on the part of each?

If you are a devoted fan of the series, be sure to read the book. It contains some nice character development.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sicilian JUstice Feb. 23 2006
By nancydear - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Montalbano is one of my favorite policemen - very, very human in his many appetites, cantankerous and grouchy, but astute in his judgments and, of course, intuitive in crime-solving. This is his most thoughtful and provocative book yet. Descriptions of his meals make me want to board the next plane for Palermo! And three cheers for the excellent translation.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Italian mystery with mysterious protagonist April 30 2006
By A. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love mysteries. While I can be charmed by a cozy, the books that I want to own are the true mysteries that allow the reader to solve honestly presented clues, much preferably with a psychological insight that enhances the understanding of the crime. With the Montalbano series, it is the inspector's psyche that fascinates..he is cranky, moody, sometimes unfair but ruefully honest. His author swings from sentiment to cynacism (proving the cliche that to scratch a cynic is to find a romantic). What makes these books so savory is the quallity of writing. No extra words, no navel gazing, but with spare and sometimes painful accuracy, Camilleri captures a view of life that I think can only be modern Italian. You can see the (fictional) town, the light over the sea and the struggle for Montalbano to manage a romance (badly), a series of clues (very well) and the cultural assumptions that many of his insights rest upon. The whole series is worth collecting. Donna Leon has the detective we want to know (Inspector Brunetti) and I love to read. Camilleri has the detective who is entirely believable, even by a cynic. Less comfortable than Leon / Brunetti, but more realistic.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Mystery. July 7 2006
By John P. Rooney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Smell Of the Night" by Andrea Camilleri. Subtitled: "An Inspector Montalbano Mystery". Translated by Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin Books, 2005.

A scam artist goes missing. Did the Mafia get rid of him? Because they were jealous of his success? Or because this relatively new scam was tapping funds the Mafia would have wanted? Or, perhaps, it was time for the scam artist to reap the rewards (however ill-gotten) of his scam and despite the fact that the scam would hurt many older and poorer people. At first, Inspector Montalbano does not want to become involved with a missing person case. The particular case at hand looked like the scam artist had bailed out with the money and gone back to mainland Italy. Missing persons. Money scams. No Sicilians involved except (of course) the victims of the scam. Page 97: "Mimi asked him:' Would you please tell me why you're getting so worked up over the Gargano Case?' "

Two women! A young, cute lady who was the secretary and the older ...middle aged...good looking woman who was the office manager where the money was collected from the unsuspecting victims. Of course, murder is involved, and you'll be surprised to find out that Inspector Montalbano is an accomplished swimmer and free-diver. One body is found in the sea at the base of a cliff, but wait until you see who really got rid of the perpetuator of the scam, the initiator of the get-rich-scheme in Sicily, and where his body is found. Should Salvo Montalbano arrange the body so that the Mafia is blamed? "But he was a cop" (Page 220). All in all, this is an intriguing mystery, and, as usual, the title is not explained until you are three-fourths of the way through the book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing Montalbano Quirks and Follies While Pursuing a Minor Mystery Aug. 16 2007
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Smell of the Night is the only one of the first six books to lack a decent mystery. Inspector Montalbano is as amusing as ever as he trashes an uninhabited villa, challenges a tease, deals with the remnants of incompetent laundering, desperately searches for new places to dine, tries to show he isn't really middle-aged, and solves a crime he isn't supposed to go near. There's the usual byplay at the station as Catarella mangles words and Fazio tries to inveigle Montalbano to sign stacks of paperwork for hours. In between, there are delicious meals and quiet interludes to think things over.

The book's plot involves a missing financier, Emanuele Gargano, who appears to have been running a Ponzi scheme (paying out large returns to early investors by using the money deposited by new investors). When the payment date occurs, the financier is nowhere to be found. One of his staff members, Giacomo Pellegrino, is also gone. But the dedicated middle-aged teller, Mariastella Cosentino, still mans the office . . . despite threats from angered depositors. Another assistant, the attractive Michela Manganaro, is licking her wounds after not having been paid for two months. But she can dish the dirt, and Montalbano gets some helpful clues.

On the serious side, headquarters has learned about the adoption Montalbano had arranged after another case, and Montalbano has to cover his tracks. As he does, he finds some good and not-so-good news. In addition, Mimi is getting close to marriage . . . but cold feet are also setting in. Will his nerve hold?

Will Montalbano's relationship with Livia survive some prevarications on the part of each?

If you are a devoted fan of the series, be sure to read the book. It contains some nice character development. But don't expect much of a mystery. After all, how hard can it be to solve a Ponzi scheme case with a missing financier? There has to be a money trail . . . and that can be turned into a physical trail.

Enjoy a pleasant taste if Sicily!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sixth Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri - L'odore Della Notte - The Smell of the Night. March 12 2007
By Andrea Bowhill - Published on Amazon.com
It was all happening at the general management's office down town in Vigàta, `King Midas Associates'. Mariastella Cosentino was sitting behind the cashier's window as usual, three policeman Mimi Augello, Fazio and Galluzzo were performing a kind of ballet depending on which way the pistol was pointing at them, Inspector Montalbano kept his eye on the assailant who was making everybody nervous. The old man himself was in his eighties had advance Parkinson's, the pistol was shaking so badly in his hands someone was bound to end up shot, he was clearly destressed all this guy wanted was his money.

Emanuele Gargano belonged to the short-lived breed of businessman fast climber and ready for the scrap heap age fifty. This man was a Financial miracle worker and had given Vigàta the economic reawakening it needed, he had set up offices and with his charismatic charm enticed people to invest their life savings and pensions, for a couple of years now his firm had shown a high profit turn over, word spread and more invested, for the people of this town it was about making money as quickly as possible, then as fast as Emanuele Gargano had breezed into town he had suddenly disappeared and all the people's Vigàta savings with him.

Montalbano had promised the old man he would get his money back and that's not all he would search everywhere for this Emanuele Gargano and bring him to justice but as complications begin to increase so does Montalbano's personal and professional king size headache.

Andrea Camilleri has written a wonderful Montalbano mystery series, what I love about this series would be the characterisations and language, the usage of dialogue in conversation it's all been kept real it's got Sharp wit and ironic comedy, the sly comments on Italian life and culture keeps things interesting and amusing. Montalbano is a fantastic leading character his middle aged, melancholy vein, recites certain favourite authors lines in moments of doubt, clearly well read. His ability of untangling his cases with certain logic and gets to the truth by not feeling afraid to explore all areas even into obsession and his wonderful passion for great flavoured food is just endless.

This Sixth novel is fantastic like all the others, I love all the characters just picking a couple out, Mimi Augello is great at being second in command, very ambitious with a real comical side as a dedicated womaniser, especially since his trying to pass himself off to Montalbano as excellent marriage material, Montalbano never believing this but remains the good boss sits silently and listens while Mimi relays his justifications. Another character who brings a smile to my face is Catarella (Cat) in charge of telephone calls his got wonderful dialogue it has me in stitches, he really tries so hard, Montalbano knows his got an angel on his team.

All Montalbano mysteries start in comedy but end in horror and melodrama but it done with lots of human interest in every plot, it's highly recommended from me and the whole series deserves to be read from the beginning.

A special mention to poet Stephen Sartarelli who has translated each book smoothly and clearly, managing to keep its humour through out and for the very informative notes given at the back on wording. Thank You.

Additional Notes: UK addition under the title, The Scent of the Night.

A.Bowhill
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