Read of the Week

The Shape of Water

Andrea Camilleri

Pan Macmillan

Review: Daria Smith

I love a good murder mystery, so jumped at the opportunity to read – and review – this book.

The author, Andrea Camilleri, was unknown to me and because most of my free time is spent watching murder mysteries on television, this is just what I needed to get myself back to reading actual books, feeling and smelling the distinct smell of paper while turning the pages.

The Inspector Montalbano murder mystery series was therefore my first by this very popular Sicilian writer, and Camilleri did not disappoint.

I found the beginning a bit slow and had to really force myself to finish the first two chapters as the writer focused on every detail of every character, their background and the time period.

However, I loved the way the Italian names rolled off my tongue when I said them out loud, and having heard only great things from friends and family alike about the writer, I decided to push on.

Camilleri sets the scene in a volatile political election period.

The battle against all odds to be at the top, the hunger for power, the blackmail, behind-the-scenes bribes and corruption are described so vividly that when a popular Italian government official is found dead in a very compromising position, it comes as no surprise.

Suddenly the pace of the writing changes, and you realise why the writer took such care describing the characters, actually leaving you little clues as to their personalities and how their backgrounds shaped them into the adults they now are.

I found this book a pure delight and found myself eventually flying through the pages trying to figure out “who did it”.

The writer takes your senses on a journey with his clever writing style.

His descriptions are so vivid that I could smell the dock yards and garbage dumps, and my mouth watered at the Italian food being described in great detail.

The ending is a pleasant twist and a good surprise. If you have never read any of his books in this particular series, you will find Inspector Montalbano to be one of fiction’s greatest detectives with a quirky sense of humour and in certain places downright funny. In some instances I found myself laughing out loud. Andrea Camilleri brings this character to life, and when I finished the book, I felt a sense of loss, and like my conversation with the detective had come to an end.

This 244-page book is an easy read and perfect for the holidays.