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The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri

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The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Series: Commissario Montalbano #15
Published by Blackstone Audio on February 26, 2013
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery
Length: 5 hrs 44 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Before leaving for vacation with Livia, Montalbano witnesses a seagull doing an odd dance on the beach outside his home - and then the bird suddenly drops dead. Stopping in at his office for a quick check before heading off, he notices that Fazio is nowhere to be found and soon learns that he was last seen on the docks, secretly working on a case. Montalbano sets out to find him and discovers that the seagull's dance of death may provide the key to understanding a macabre world of sadism, extortion, and murder.

I’m not sure how many Montalbano mysteries I’ve listened to/read now. They start to run together a little. This one opens with a seagull dying on a beach. This scene comes back later as a kind of vision that helps Montalbano solve the case – which is odd and doesn’t feel like it fits with the series. Also out of character is that Montalbano refers  to “that television series” and later the comment “Little surprise that Montalbano couldn’t tell Camilleri how the story would end.” I don’t want my mysteries to be that aware of themselves as fiction, but maybe that’s just me.

Aside from that, the book was fine. It’s been a little while since I finished listening to it and that part that I remember the best is how concerned Montalbano was with finding Fazio, how important it was. And once Fazio’s found, keeping him safe becomes important. Montalbano forgets all about Livia, his long-time lover, coming in for a planned visit, but that’s not really surprising. Livia is rarely top in his mind.

I don’t really remember much about the mystery itself. It was a complicated, there was a cross-dresser, the Mafia of course, lots of food. Montalbano’s grumbly and talks to himself a lot. Not my favorite of the series, but not terrible either.

I put the first 3 episodes of the tv series on hold at the library. I haven’t seen any of them, but it might translate really well to tv.

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:

A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri

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A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Series: Commissario Montalbano #20
Published by Blackstone Audio on November 15, 2016
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery
Length: 6 hrs 18 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Montalbano investigates a robbery at a supermarket, a standard case that takes a spin when manager Guido Borsellino is later found hanging in his office. Was it a suicide? Inspector Montalbano and the coroner have their doubts, and further investigation leads to the director of a powerful local company.

Meanwhile, a girl is found brutally murdered in Giovanni Strangio's apartment - Giovanni has a flawless alibi, and it's no coincidence that Michel Strangio, president of the province, is his father. Weaving together these two crimes, Montalbano realizes that he's in a difficult spot where political power is enmeshed with the Mafia underworld.

I’ve read/listened to several Montalbano mysteries. In A Voice in the Night we’ve got several of the series standards – corrupt politicians, police who are being pressured for certain results,  good food. Montalbano is a good cop, in that he’s not in the mafia’s pocket and is not afraid to go against the politicians. He doesn’t always stick to the law, though.

Both of the mysteries have their twists and turns. I especially liked how the young woman’s murder was plotted, even though I felt bad for the boyfriend. As always, I find Salvo amusing and interesting. The title is perfect, it pulls from a pivotal part of the story, one that may not actually put Montalbano in the best light, but does highlight his need to find the real culprit, not just accept what “they” want.

I’ll definitely read more in the series, but they’re not gripping enough to buy; I always borrow them from the library. They are consistent though – light, pretty short, decent mysteries and characters who are pretty consistent over the series. I know what I’m getting when I pick up a Montalbano story and I’m rarely disappointed. I’m also rarely astounded.

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 Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Series: Wayfarers #1
Published by Tantor Audio on July 7, 2016
Source: Library
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 14 hrs 24 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Rosemary Harper doesn't expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and, most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman, she's never met anyone remotely like the ship's diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot; chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks, who keep the ship running; and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy - exactly what Rosemary wants. It's also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn't part of the plan.

In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary's got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs - an experience that teaches her about love and trust and that having a family isn't necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

I really liked The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but I don’t have much to say about it. Do you ever run into that problem. For the most part, we’re hanging out with the crew of the Wayfarer who are an awesome group of “people” – humans and other species, even a sentient AI. They are wormhole tunnelers, which is can be tough, but this newest job is the chance of a lifetime.

Often, it seems like sci-fi is about the politics or the weapons or the conflict, whatever it is. In The Long Way, all those things exist, but it’s more about how the crew are a family, how they face the big issues. We tag along on their adventures in ports or planets where friends live. We worry with them when they face a crisis, but know it will work out, because together they can handle most anything. I became attached to them all. I may have even cried when they had to hard reset the AI, which is not really surprising, I cry a lot at books.

Maybe it’s “feel good” sci-fi, if that’s a thing. The bad things are out there: politicians who put profits over peoples’ lives; prejudice against others due to their species, but the good is so much bigger, there are so many more caring, kind people out there, just trying to do their best. The characters, the crew obviously, but even others we meet briefly are well-drawn, have their own histories and cultures that play into how they act and interact with each other. The galaxy is a hugely diverse place where “people” of all types can find acceptance.

And sometimes filling out the right form can save someone’s life.

About Becky Chambers

Becky Chambers is the author of the award-nominated science fiction novels. She also writes nonfiction essays and short stories, which can be found in various places around the internet.

In addition to writing, Becky has a background in performing arts, and grew up in a family heavily involved in space science. She’s worked as a technical writer, a bartender, and a production assistant, among other things. Having lived in Scotland and Iceland, she is currently back in her home state of California.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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