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Game of Mirrors (Inspector Montalbano Mystery) Paperback – March 31, 2015
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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 Casa 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 wedges 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
“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)
“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
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.
Top customer reviews
The plot revolves around a variety of puzzles, which Montalbano struggles to solve in the midst of a plethora of little white lies and illusory effects. He proves to us, with something of an air of defiance, that his mind is still running on all cylinders. But we see the inspector's fear that he may be getting less sharp with age. Certainly he's less agile when it comes to jumping out windows!
But the reason I read this book with so much pleasure was that the usual gags never grow old – Catarella garbling the names of everyone who calls the station, Montalbano and his girlfriend Livia squabbling on the phone every night, the jealous mud-slinging between Livia and Montalbano's housekeeper Adelina, Montalbano's astonishing ability to stuff himself at every meal...
There are no recipes in this book, but as always the lyrical names of the Sicilian dishes Montalbano wolfs down are a kind of poetry.
The most touching scene is when Catarella declares his undying willingness to serve his chief. Montalbano's officers, too, are always fun to watch in action – especially Mimi, whose job often involves sleeping with women to get information.
This would probably not be the book to start with if you haven't been following Montalbano. But for fans familiar with Montalbano’s world, it's bound to be a treat. I loved being back with the inspector in his home by the sea, the hot air of the Sirocco wafting through the window.
Montalbano rarely uses a gun, which I appreciate. I enjoy reading about him working out the problems that come in front of him. I rarely see the answers before they're revealed, which I frequently do in other books. (I guessed "Gone Girl" in the first few pages.) I also appreciate Camilleri's attention to the side characters. They make the books breathe. I highly recommend the entire series.
In case you haven't heard me talk about this series before, there are about 27 cds available made for Italian television. They are faithfully recreated from the books. At 110 minute with no commercials, each is more like a movie than an America 40 minute television episode. They are in Italian, but the subtitles are large and easy to read even on a small television. It's very easy to follow the action. Watch a couple episodes or read a couple books. You may become as hooked as I am.
This particular book has not been made into a TV movie, I think. At least I don't remember it (it is always possible I've seen it and simply forgotten!) and so in one regard this was particularly fun for me to read: I did not know how it would end.
The title of the book is very appropriate as it does seem that it is a deadly game that is being played. One that for a good part of the book does not make a lot of sense. Things are not what they seem, to be sure.
We see Salvo at the top of his game, here, against a quite challenging set of circumstances. There is, of course the obligatory whining about growing old, and the fact that he is being seduced by a young, beautiful, woman. One might get tired of those predictable things, but perhaps it is the current summer heat wave -- I have forgiven him for his failings.
This was just simply a lovely summer read. As I write this, I'm not quite certain if it is the last of the books. There might be one or two more. At the same time I was reading this, MHz released for streaming the most recent two movies. So a wonderful double-dose of Montalbano. The actors in the shows all are growing older as well (except the actor who plays Fazio! He is forever young!). It is a pleasant way to spend a hot July.
I didn't realize it for the longest time that Camilleri's books about Montalbano always have 18 chapters. It's an impressive feat. The one negative comment I have about Game of Mirrors is that it ends very abruptly. Bam! It's done. You're left wanting maybe just a little bit more... and maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Most recent customer reviews
Andrea Camilleri Game of Mirrors
I am always delighted to read another book in the Camilleri’s Montalbano mysteries set in nineteenth-century Sicily.Read more