The Fourth Secret (Inspector Montalbano) by Andrea Camilleri
|The Fourth Secret (Inspector Montalbano) by Andrea Camilleri|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A novella from the master of Italian crime makes for a couple of hours' decent reading.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 77||Date: December 2014|
Early one morning an Albanian construction worker - a legal resident with a work permit - fell from scaffolding and was dead when his co-workers found him. What struck Montalbano was that there had been rather a lot of what were described as tragedies in the workplace - six in the last month, in fact, although he was sure that there would be statistics to prove that this was not abnormal within the EU. Strictly it wasn't his case to deal with, but he received an anonymous letter telling him that Pashko Puka was going to be killed. Admittedly the letter arrived after the death due to a malfunction in the local postal system, but it did mean that it was difficult to think of the death as a 'tragic accident'.
Then there was the matter of the regular pedicures which Puka's feet suggested and the fact that the other Albanians in the boarding house where he lived seemed to know very little about him. But it is difficult to investigate something like this when you're not allowed to demonstrate any interest at all - and when even your own officers are against you. But Montalbano has his ways.
I read this novella in much less than a couple of hours - it's a mere 77 pages and it was as engaging as are all the Montalbano books, but it was hardly meaty, although that is admittedly difficult in such a short piece. The story was originally published in 2002 and has only just been translated into English by Gianluca Rizzo and Dominic Siracusa (who also translated Montalbano's First Case to less than critical acclaim) rather than Stephen Sartarelli, who has translated the full range of the Montalbano books. It has pointed up to me just how used you get to a particular translator and how characters such as Catarella can fall flat in different hands.
It was an enjoyable read and one I would have welcomed on a train journey of the requisite length, but it felt just a little unsatisfying on its own. Perhaps Mondadori could consider a collection of short stories in future?
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
If a collection of short stories of Italian crime appeals to you then we can recommend Judges by Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo De Cataldo.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Fourth Secret (Inspector Montalbano) by Andrea Camilleri at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Fourth Secret (Inspector Montalbano) by Andrea Camilleri at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.