The Snack Thief Paperback – May 31 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
In his third Inspector Salvo Montalbano mystery to be made available in the U.S., Camilleri (The Shape of Water) displays all the storytelling skills that have made him an international bestseller. When gunfire from a Tunisian patrol boat kills a worker on an Italian fishing trawler, the worldly Sicilian police inspector knows that this is just the type of situation his overly ambitious second-in-command, Mimi Augello, will want to exploit. Meanwhile, Montalbano has to look into the stabbing death of a retiree in the elevator of the victim's apartment building. While the trawler incident appears to resolve itself, the elevator slaying gets more complex by the minute. Soon Montalbano is searching for the retiree's beautiful housekeeper (and sometimes prostitute) and her son. It's only when he finds the boy (the snack thief of the title) that Montalbano learns the true nature of the case, its relation to the trawler shooting and the danger it poses. Although warned to keep his distance, Montalbano, who can't deny his investigative instincts any more than he can refuse a hardy portion of sardines a beccafico, proceeds headlong into the thick of government corruption with a risky plan to set things right. Montalbano, despite his curmudgeonly exterior, has a depth to him that charms. Readers are sure to savor this engrossing, Mafia-free Sicilian mystery.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the third Inspector Montalbano mystery to appear in the U.S., the maverick Sicilian cop is once again convinced that the fix is in and determined to unfix it. This time Montalbano suspects a link between the stabbing of a businessman in an apartment-house elevator and the shooting of a crewman on a fishing boat. Connecting the two are an enterprising Tunisian prostitute, now vanished, and her young son, who has been surviving by stealing lunches from schoolchildren. Montalbano fits the pieces together gradually, taking time, as always, for plenty of leisurely lunches but eventually exposing a wide-ranging plot fuelled by high-level corruption. What makes this series so good is Camilleri's unsurpassed ability to mix hard-boiled terror with the comic frustrations of daily life. Montalbano is the southern Italian equivalent of Magdalen Nabb's Marshal Guarnaccia, also a Sicilian but stationed in Florence. Both men covet the quiet pleasures of food, drink, and female companionship, but neither is quite able to resist the compulsion to help others. In the tension between those two forces, the Italian crime novel thrives. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The backdrop of the book is complicated. Set in Sicily, it depicts the interleaving of Italian, Arab and French cultures. The plotline has these intricately entangled, due to geography and history. Plus, there are allusions to the different Italian regions and the concomitant stereotypes. For example, the hero is Sicilian, but his girlfriend is Ligurian. At one point, he contrasts their backgrounds in a brief remark. An Italian would catch these immediately, based on her background. But for me, and possibly for you too, these remain opaque.
An analogy might be familiar to you. Think of the various British regional demotics: The dour Scot, the garrulous, overfriendly Cockney, the bloody minded Yorkshireman. Please understand that I do not say these are at all correct, or that I agree with them. But if you are British or American, these should be known to you. Well, something similar is going on in this novel.
With his usual style (apparently bumbling but barely hiding a sharp wit), Montalbano is able to 'solve' the mysteries. But knowing the answer and bringing some sort of justice are very different things. Montalbano has to dig deep into his bag of tricks to pull out a solution that satisfies his own peculiar sense of morality. Worse, from his perspective, it isn't only himself involved. A little boy and Montalbano's longtime lover, Livia are also at risk.
Author Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series combines humor, solid sleuthing; a wonderful view of small town life in Sicily that is alien but fascinating to most of its readers, and charming to everyone; with compelling social commentary. Although the setting is in Italy, the issues that Montalbano faces are universal.
I have enjoyed the entire Inspector Montalbano series but so far, THE SNACK THIEF is the most powerful of a very strong series. Well done, Andrea Camilleri.
If you have not read other books in this series, I strongly urge you to read The Shape of Water and The Terra-Cotta Dog first. They will provide background on the characters that will add much to your enjoyment of The Snack Thief.
As the book begins, we see another side of the cheerful, capable Inspector Montalbano. He's having trouble sleeping when the police station's resident idiot, the telephone operator Catarella, calls with a nonsensical message about a death. Montalbano hangs up and unplugs the phone, ignoring the message. When Montalbano finally makes it into the station, he finds that almost everyone has left to deal with the death of a Tunisian on an Italian fishing vessel that has come into Vigata. The Tunisian was killed by a warning shot from a Tunisian patrol vessel. Montalbano is glad to have avoided this political hot potato when another death is called in. Someone has found a man dead in an elevator. Montalbano rejoices in being able to use this new death to avoid the first case and its inevitable complications. But can he escape handling that other case?
The police procedural aspects of this case are particularly rewarding. Inspector Montalbano works through all of the obvious details such as what floor was the elevator on before . . . and just keeps turning up new mysteries.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The best, I think, of the series. I literally laughed out loud at some points, because Montalbano is such a great and quirky character. Read morePublished on July 5 2004 by L. Cattafi
The main character of this book, Inspector Montalbano, is getting familiar like an old friend. His personality quirks and love of food only get more entertaining with each book... Read morePublished on March 15 2004 by Rick Mitchell
When an elderly man is murdered in the elevator and a Tunesian fisherman is shot at sea, these events at first instance do not seem to be connected. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003 by Linda Oskam
The is hugely popular (in Europe anyway) Inspector Montalbano series continues, with this installment following The Shape of Water and The Terra-Cotta Dog. Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2003 by A. Ross
First, a Tunisian patrol boat shoots at a local fishing trawler and kills one person. Next, retired Mr. Lapecora is killed in the elevator of his apartment house. Read morePublished on Aug. 6 2003 by lvkleydorff