This is the first of Camilleri's books that I have read and I want to read more. Like other novels in translation I find it takes a little time to get into the rhythm of the text but well worth the effort. Inspector Montalbano is an intriguing character, sometimes laconic and world weary but nevertheless a sharp witted and intuitive investigator. I know a little more of the Scilian way of life (and death) through reading this novel. The plot is well-constructed with enough red herrings to keep readers on their toes. The references to local landscapes, culture, politics, and the social mores of the place add real depth to the story making it a cut above the average 'whodunnit'.
Around ten o'clock in the morning, Montalbano's reading of the two Scilian dailies, one from Palermo and the other from Catania, was interrupted by a phone call from the commissioner. " I was told to send you thanks," the commissioner began. "Oh, really? On whose behalf?" "On behalf of the bishop and our minister. Monseignor Teruzzi was pleased with the Christain charity, which you, how shall I say, put into action not allowing any unscrupulous, indecent journalists and photographers to paint and propogate lewd portraits of the deceased." "But I gave that order before I even knew who it was! I would have done the same for anybody." "Such charity, my dear man, becomes all the more precious, the loftier the position of the object of charity, you know what I mean? Just imagine, the bishop even quoted Pirandello...the line where the father says that one cannot be held forever to a less than honourable act, after a life of great integrity, just because of one moment of weakness. In other words, we cannot pass on to posterity the image of Luparello with his pants momentarily down."