The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri

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The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The second in Camilleri's Inspector Salvo Montalbano books sees the series take off. Now you know that this is someone to watch! Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: August 2005
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 978-0330492911

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Montalbano was somewhat surprised to find himself having a heart-to-heart conversation with one of the most feared Mafioso in Sicily - and even more surprised when Tano the Greek indicated that he'd like to be caught and arrested. He wasn't giving himself up, you note - he wanted it to look as though what had happened was outside his control. Meanwhile, the rest of the team were dealing with a supermarket heist - the proceeds of which were inexplicably abandoned at a filling station. To cap it all, Montalbano discovers a secret grotto in a mountain cave, with two young lovers, dead some fifty years but still embracing - all watched over by a life-size terracotta dog. It's not a normal day for the detective - but then what is normal for him?

Before you begin reading, make certain that you locate the notes supplied by translator Stephen Sartarelli and to be found at the back of the book. They're gold dust. They're those little points which would be obvious to a native Italian speaker but which can't be readily explained within the text even by someone as accomplished as Sartarelli. I discovered then after I'd finished one of Camilleri's books - and now they're the first thing I look for.

It's one of the earlier novels in the series but one of the more complex with its journey into the dark heart of some of the secrets which still linger from World War II. The plot is the perfect foil for Montalbano - even in the midst of other murders and robberies he's still determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of the deaths of the two lovers - despite the fact that he begins by having no idea of who they were and knowing that their murderer is almost certainly dead. Somehow - you're never quite certain how, or that it will - it all comes together.

The cast of characters which will follow Montalbano through subsequent books is now fairly settled. Catarella, with his ability to murder any language will develop more in future books. At the moment he's more of an annoyance to the team than anything else. Amazingly - particularly given the number of books now in the series - there are no spoilers and despite there being quite a reasonable continuing story there's no problem if you read them out of sequence.

Camilleri is one of those rare authors to whom you turn when you want a good read. To say that he's reliable makes him sound rather dull and that couldn't be further from the truth, but he is an author whose books you can take on a long train journey and know that you're going to have an excellent read.

If you prefer to start at the beginning of the series then you should head for The Shape of Water.

Buy The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri at

Buy The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri at

Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano Books in Chronological Order


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