SBR: I am reviewing the series as a whole here. I was looking for something light, but not trashy to read and got recommended this series by a friend. Over a short period of time, I ended up reading eleven books in the series. Because it is set in Sicily where the dynamics of politics and crime are very different from a typical American or British setting, and which the author uses to its full advantage, these books make for a refreshing read (gory crimes notwithstanding). Not every crime is neatly closed with the perpetrator put behind the bars. Sometimes there is nothing to be gained by taking the strictly legal route and the protagonist, Inspector Montalbano, chooses the course of action guided by his own conscience and morals, rather than the law. At least in one case, even for his personal gain. The translation to English is good. The only part I don’t like is that the characters don’t seem to grow at all over the series. Montalbano is – to put it politely – nasty, self-centered and sexist. The relationship between Montalbano and Livia is erratic and even pathetic. Sometimes it feels like the author can’t make up his mind about whether they are soulmates or just two confused, but needy people holding on to each other. At any rate, they don’t seem to be going anywhere. But the cases can keep you going all right.
To read or not to read: Read it, especially if you are a mystery reader.