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Angelica's Smile (Inspector Montalbano) Paperback – June 24, 2014

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Montalbano (Book 17)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (June 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143123769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143123767
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Angelica's Smile:

“[S]ublime...colorful characters and a sleek pace.”—Kirkus Reviews

“CWA International Dagger Award-winner Camilleri’s many fans will shout ‘grazie’ for his 17th Insp. Salvo Montalbano mystery....[A] delightful caper, replete with charming companions and a setting that’s a pleasure to return to.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Camilleri] never disappoints....Inspector Montalbano is completely hysterical and absolutely charming.”—Suspense Magazine

Praise for Andrea Camilleri and the Montalbano Series:

 “Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano mysteries might sell like hotcakes in Europe, but these world-weary crime stories were unknown here until the oversight was corrected (in Stephen Sartarelli’s salty translation) by the welcome publication of The Shape of Water…This savagely funny police procedural…prove[s] that sardonic laughter is a sound that translates ever so smoothly into English.”—The New York Times Book Review
 “Hailing from the land of Umberto Eco and La Cosa Nostra, Montalbano can discuss a pointy-headed book like Western Attitudes Toward Death as unflinchingly as he can pore over crime-scene snuff photos. He throws together an extemporaneous lunch of shrimp with lemon and oil as gracefully as he dodges advances from attractive women.”—Los Angeles Times
“[Camilleri’s mysteries] offer quirky characters, crisp dialogue, bright storytelling—and Salvo Montalbano, one of the most engaging protagonists in detective fiction…Montalbano is a delightful creation, an honest man on Siciliy’s mean streets.”—USA Today
“Camilleri is as crafty and charming a writer as his protagonist is an investigator.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Like Mike Hammer or Sam Spade, Montalbano is the kind of guy who can’t stay out of trouble…Still, deftly and lovingly translated by Stephen Sartarelli, Camilleri makes it abundantly clear that under the gruff, sardonic exterior our inspector has a heart of gold, and that any outburst, fumbles, or threats are made only in the name of pursuing truth.”—The Nation
“Camilleri can do a character’s whole backstory in half a paragraph.”—The New Yorker
 “Subtle, sardonic, and molto simpatico: Montalbano is the Latin re-creation of Philip Marlowe, working in a place that manages to be both more and less civilized than chandler’ Los Angeles.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Wit and delicacy and the fast-cut timing of farce play across the surface…but what keeps it from frothing into mere intellectual charm is the persistent, often sexually bemused Montalbano, moving with ease along zigzags created for him, teasing out threads of discrepancy that unravel the whole.”—Houston Chronicle
“Sublime and darkly humorous…Camilleri balances his hero’s personal and professional challenges perfectly and leaves the reader eager for more.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Montalbano mysteries offer cose dolci to the world-lit lover hankering for a whodunit.”—The Village Voice
“In Sicily, where people do things as they please, Inspector Salvo Montalbano is a bona fide folk hero.”—The New York Times Book Review
“The books are full of sharp, precise characterizations and with subplots that make Montalbano endearingly human…Like the antipasti that Montalbano contentedly consumes, the stories are light and easily consumed, leaving one eager for the next course.”—New York Journal of Books
“The reading of these little gems is fast and fun every step of the way.”—The New York Sun
“This series is distinguished by Camilleri’s remarkable feel for tragicomedy, expertly mixing light and dark in the course of producing novels that are both comforting and disturbing.”—Booklist

About the Author

Andrea Camilleri is the bestselling author of the popular Inspector Montalbano mystery series, as well as historical novels that take place in nineteenth-century Sicily. He lives in Rome.

Stephen Sartarelli is an award-winning translator and poet. He lives in France.

Customer Reviews

This is one of the two or three best detective series I have read.
And that made me feel that I too was just going through the motions in reading it.
P. Webster
The translation is good and the story lines are always intriguing.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By P. Webster on June 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I’ve loved most of Andrea Camilleri’s Montalbano stories, but I’m sad to say that this latest offering is a disappointingly mediocre one. I never thought I’d have to call a Montalbano story “average” – but this one is just that.

There has been an enjoyable formula for these books: Montalbano’s quirky personality; the interplay between him and his team; lots of humour; and the occasional critical social comment from Camilleri’s left-leaning perspective. (In the TV version we also get the beautiful Sicilian scenery.)

Some of the previous Montalbanos have disappointed me, but up to now this has been for a specifically identifiable reason. The mood of “The Age of Doubt” was dismal; “The Treasure Hunt” was spoiled by a distastefully grim scene; and a couple of the books irritated me when Camilleri brought in premonition-type paranormal episodes.

But there is nothing specific that I can point to as spoiling “Angelica’s Smile”. I did miss the usual sprinkling of social comment, which is absent this time. But the real problem is that it has the feeling that Camilleri has become jaded and is just going through the motions. And that made me feel that I too was just going through the motions in reading it.

Also, although the plot itself has never been the most important aspect of the Montalbano books, I thought that the plot here was plodding and predictable.

There is still probably just about enough to make the book worth reading for Montalbano fans. We get Montalbano’s endearingly odd behaviour as usual, and there is an amusing episode of jealousy involving Livia, as well as the regular comic scenes with Catarella. But don’t expect the high quality of the best Montalbanos. I hope we aren’t witnessing the sad decline of a once-great series.

Phil Webster.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By propertius on June 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read all of the Montalbano series available in English, let is suffice to say that I am an avid fan. Since this is a series, I thank that it is only fair to review this novel in the context of other Montalbano novels and herein lies the trouble with this novel. The reader long accustomed to the interplay of diverse characters be they serious or comic, will find this novel lacking. Augello has been sent on leave and it is only Fazio, Livia, and Catarella who appear with any substance.

Which leads me to the next difference with this novel novel and that is it is not a murder mystery but a burglary mystery. The lack of tension this crime produces, is evident throughout the novel and it only in the last third that there any hint of ominous motives. This is somewhere between a roman a clef and a study of sexual obsession, viz. Montalbano's.

Montalbano's Angelica with constant allusions to Aristo's Angelica is really not believable in her actions or effects on other. Let us say that Camilleri is more concerned with the inner-torment of Montalbano than the character of Angelica. His obsession with food is only limited and perhaps the biggest fault in the novel, and it grows with each novel unfortunately is the character of his paramour Livia. After decades of quasi-cohabitation, she still seems to be the same Livia we first met and has not progressed in her understanding of Montalbano. Too much of a glaring error. No woman would act like an ingenue after so long a period, especially one that has a life and career of her own.

No, this is more of a modern uptake on "Orlando Furioso" as it applies to Montalbano in a very personal sense. That is the only way that I can understand this story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By St. Germain en Laye on June 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed this series from the moment I picked up the very first in the series, "The Shape of Water", some years ago. Even though I find this entry to be a four-star book, I would give the series five stars without hesitation. If you're reading this review, I'm assuming you are familiar with the series yourself.

I turned sixty not long ago, and find myself sympathizing with Salvo Montalbano as he, himself, confronts the various increasing limitations, doubts, and insecurities that come with growing older. Much of this book concerns Montalbano's obsessive infatuation with a much younger woman, the Angelica of the title. Another reviewer found this obsession limited the book somewhat, but I think that that was the point. That's what obsessions do. Instead of finding fault with Camilleri, I found myself cringing for Montalbano.

I was especially aware reading this book that I, as an American, am not a member of Camilleri's target audience, which is Italian. I, too, wish Livia's character was more developed and that her relationship with Montalbano was more fleshed out. That's how an American author would write the story. Italian society is not American society, however, and I wonder if I'd gain more perspective if I were actually able to discuss this series with a few Italians, both male and female.

This book was a fast read, and held my interest until the end. If the later entries in the series are not as scintillating as those towards the beginning, I can easily live with that. I'm not as sharp and scintillating as I used to be, and Camilleri is more than twenty years my senior. As for Montalbano, I've come to think of him as a sometimes exasperating, but very good, friend. I am happy to grow older in his company. We'll nurse our headaches together and cure them with coffee while he solves the mysteries thrown at him.
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More About the Author

Andrea Camilleri is the author of the spectacularly successful Montalbano mystery series and many other novels set in nineteenth-century Sicily. His Montalbano novels have been made into an Italian TV series.

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