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The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri

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The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Series: Commissario Montalbano #8
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on March 1, 2010 (first published 2004)
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery
Length: 5 hrs 42 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Winning fans in Europe and America for their dark sophistication and dry humor, Andrea Camilleri's crime novels are classics of the genre. Set once again in Sicily, The Patience of the Spider pits Inspector Montalbano against his greatest foe yet: the weight of his own years. Still recovering from the gunshot wound he suffered in Rounding the Mark, he must overcome self-imposed seclusion and waxing self-doubt to penetrate a web of hatred and secrets in pursuit of the strangest culprit he's ever hunted.

The kidnapping of a beautiful young university student, Susanna Mistretta, rocks the community of Vigàta. Distrusting of his colleagues' ability to solve the case, Montalbano jumps in, his accute senses picking up on the subtleties that will leading his investigation on a winding trail of provincial politics, odious journalists, and delicious Italian food.

This is the second Montalbano mystery I’ve listened to in a row. To some extent, I could just copy the review from the last, Game of Mirrors; Montalbano and his circle just don’t change that much from book to book. For the most part, it’s only the plots that vary. But they’re easy, enjoyable listens, and usually available from the library, so I keep coming back to them.

This time, it’s a kidnapping, but the family clearly does not have enough money to pay a ransom, so who could possibly have kidnapped Susanna? An outsider who doesn’t know the family’s financial standing, or was she kidnapped for some other reason? The girl has a worried boyfriend and a father who would do anything to have her back. Her mother is on her deathbed and her uncle is doing all he can to help the family. I guessed most of the answer early on, although one piece took me longer.

Overall, it’s a good story. Camilleri really gives a feeling of the place and especially the people of both Sicily in general and Montalbano’s acquaintances. We do see a lot of his girlfriend this time around, and I’m not much of a fan of hers. There were several funny spots though and I found myself walking around the house repeating some of the Italian names and foods, one of the dangers of listening to a book like this on audio.

About Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri (born September 6, 1925 in Porto Empedocle) is an Italian writer. He is considered one of the greatest Italian writers of both 20th and 21st centuries. Camilleri lives in Rome where he works as a TV and theatre director. About 10 million copies of his novels have been sold to date, and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and North America.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri

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Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Series: Commissario Montalbano #18
Published by Blackstone Audio on March 31, 2015 (first published 2011)
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery
Length: 5 hrs 34 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Inspector Montalbano and his colleagues are stumped when two bombs explode outside empty warehouses - one of which is connected to a big-time drug dealer. Meanwhile the alluring Liliana Lombardo is trying to seduce the inspector over red wine and arancini. Between pesky reporters, amorous trysts, and cocaine kingpins, Montalbano feels as if he's being manipulated on all fronts. That is until the inspector himself becomes the prime suspect in an unspeakably brutal crime.

I’ve read/listened to several of the Montalbano mysteries over the years. It’s a series I know what to expect from. The main characters don’t change much over the years and the food always sounds delicious. For me, this is one of the series I turn to when I want something that I know I’ll enjoy.

This time around we’ve got a couple of bombings, but they both take place at empty warehouses, which is odd. Montalbano has a sexy new (married) neighbor who seems determined to seduce him. Her car’s been vandalized and her computer salesman husband is never around. To top it all off, anonymous letters and phone calls are being sent to citizens, the prosecutor and a television station, all pointing in different directions. We’ve also got a couple of drug gangs that may or may not be involved. Of course, Montalbano manages to tie all the seemingly random events together.

I often listen to the audios for this series, rather than read the print versions. I like hearing the names of people and places and foods. They sound so much more fluid than they would in my head. Also, the plots aren’t overly complicated, so they’re good to listen to as I’m doing chores or out at the gym.

As always, the writing is well done. Camilleri really gives a feeling of the place and especially the people of both Sicily in general and Montalbano’s circle. I don’t think this would be the best introduction to the series, but if you’re already a fan it’s definitely worth reading.

About Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri (born September 6, 1925 in Porto Empedocle) is an Italian writer. He is considered one of the greatest Italian writers of both 20th and 21st centuries. Camilleri lives in Rome where he works as a TV and theatre director. About 10 million copies of his novels have been sold to date, and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and North America.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

The Terra-Cotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri

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The Terra-Cotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri The Terra-Cotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Series: Commissario Montalbano #2
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on January 1, 2006 (first published 1996)
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery
Length: 7 hrs 28 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Montalbano's latest case begins with a mysterious tête à tête with a Mafioso, some inexplicably abandoned loot from a supermarket heist, and some dying words that lead him to an illegal arms cache in a mountain cave. There the inspector finds two young lovers, dead for fifty years and still embracing, watched over by a life-sized terra-cotta dog. Montalbano's passion to solve this old crime takes him on a journey through Sicily's past and into a family's dark heart amidst the horrors of World War II bombardment.

I’ve been reading the Commissario Montalbano out-of-order over the last few years. I enjoy them but not enough to go out of my way to read them. Most I’ve picked up on audio from the library when they’ve been available.

I like Montalbano. He’s amusing in a crass way. He’s as interested in literature and food as he is catching criminals. He can be philosophical one moment and wise-cracking the next. He cynical, but also has a soft side. He can be tough as nails, but the idea of a promotion or talking in front of the media terrifies him.

This time around we’ve got two things going. There’s a Mafia gun situation and the mystery of the two people killed 50 years ago. I like that both get solved. The current mystery needs to be dealt with, but the older one captures Montalbano’s imagination.

The secondary characters are well-developed, even those that end up dead.

The mysteries were well done. The present day situation had well-placed clues, but it was the historical one that really carried the book for me. The details of Italy during the was were interesting as was how and what people remember.

The narrator did a good job with the book, projected Montalbano’s attitude well. And I enjoy hearing the names and places and dishes, rather than stumbling over them myself.

 

About Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri (born September 6, 1925 in Porto Empedocle) is an Italian writer. He is considered one of the greatest Italian writers of both 20th and 21st centuries. Camilleri lives in Rome where he works as a TV and theatre director. About 10 million copies of his novels have been sold to date, and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and North America.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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