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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:

Through a Glass,Darkly by Donna Leon

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Through a Glass,Darkly by Donna Leon Through a Glass, Darkly by Donna Leon
Narrator: David Colacci
Series: Commissario Brunetti #15
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on May 18, 2006
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 36 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories.

On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced by the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass factory owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti. Brunetti's curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? Then one morning the body of De Cal's night watchman is found. Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, in quiet bars, and down narrow streets, Brunetti searches for the killer. Will he unravel the clues before the night watchman's death is allowed to be forgotten?

It always seems like Leon has a topic she wants to discuss and works her mystery around that. This time around it’s pollution and the environment.

This was not my favorite in the series. The mystery doesn’t really get started until maybe half way through. Up until them Brunetti is investigating even though the only “crime” was that a woman he barely knows is worried that her father will harm her husband. I’ll grant you that does tie in to the eventual mystery, but a lot of Brunetti’s investigating and thinking happens before the actual murder. And someone entirely different is killed.

I enjoy the bits of daily life, Brunetti’s conversations with his wife and kids, the delicious food. In this one, I found the glass making process interesting. It works better as a novel the a standard mystery I think.

I hated the ending. I listened to the audio version, as I always do with this series and I felt like the end wasn’t resolved enough for me. I was left with a “that’s it?” feeling.

I love the series overall, just don’t think this was one of the stronger entries.

About Donna Leon

Donna Leon is the author of the international best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon was born in New Jersey and lived in Venice for over thirty years. She now makes her home in Switzerland.

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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