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?
The book has only three highlights for Montalbano: His favorite tree provides inspiration and answers; he has an unexpectedly pleasant meal with a beautiful and agreeable young woman; and he can always seem to find some wonderful food to distract him from his annoyances and frustrations.
The contrasts between the inner Montalbano and the public one are nicely and humorously drawn. As always, the politics of the police are displayed in Keystone-Kops-like ways. You could laugh about the funny parts of this book for days.
Bravo to both Andrea Camilleri and his brilliant translator, Stephen Sartarelli!