The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri

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The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Number thirteen in the series and still as good, if not better than ever. An ingenious plot kept me guessing until the end.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: April 2012
Publisher: Mantle
ISBN: 978-1447203292

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It was after a bad storm that a dismembered body emerged from a field of clay and everything about it - the single bullet in the base of the skull and the body cut into thirty pieces - suggested that this was a Mafia killing. But who is the dead man and why was he buried in Potter's Field? And why is it so difficult to get the anti-Mafia police interested in the case? It would be a testing case for Montalbano even without the problems caused by his second in command. Mimi Augelo (as Montalbano hears via Augelo's wife and his own girlfriend) is spending a lot of time on stakeouts - about which Montalbano knows nothing - and seems more than usually distracted by Dolores Alfano whose husband has gone missing on a sea voyage.

I have a confession to make. I read the next book in the series before I read The Potter's Field and whilst there are no direct spoilers it did take away a frisson of tension about what would happen to one particular character. It was nothing more than a minor irritant in one of Camilleri's more involved plots, which came complete with some biblical references and a generous serving of red herrings. It's a plot whose complexity leaves you smiling and positively grinning at the way that Montalbano unravels it all. The fact that you might have your suspicions about one or two matters all along does not matter at all.

You'll meet all your old friends, but they're in a curiously subdued mood, with Mimi Augelo wanting autonomy and going about achieving it in a very strange way and even Catarella being unusually quiet. It's takes all of Montalbano's considerable powers of deduction to realise what the problem is and how he can extract Mimi and it's all liberally sprinkled with Camilleri's trademark humour (some of it very subtle, some of it almost slapstick) and some digs at corrupt politicians and businessmen. I can't wait to see what he'll do now that Berlusconi is - at least for now - away from the centre of power.

As always the translation from the original Italian is by poet Stephen Sartarelli. The highest praise that I can give is to say that this book (and indeed every other book in the series) is as unlike a translation as it's possible to be. I now make a habit of reading through Sartarelli's notes at the back of the book before I start reading and then refresh as I read the book. They are gold dust and always add greatly to my enjoyment.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

Even with my reservations about not reading this book before reading the next in the series I have to say that all the book read well as standalones, but why not give yourself a treat and start at the beginning?

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Buy The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri at

Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano Books in Chronological Order


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