Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri

Ahhh! Another book about corruption, but this one is no where near so painful for me to read as The Appeal by John Grisham, because this one is set in Sicily, where we expect a certain level of corruption, and Italy, where the whole system operates by rules we can barely begin to comprehend, but it is ITALY, and fascinating, and funny, and another great page turner for these hot hot hot summer days.

Paper Moon

Andrea Camilleri has a whole series of books about Inspector Montalbano, which I love almost as I love the Donna Leon series about the Venetian, Guido Brunetti. Brunetti has the edge because he is married and has a family, and it IS Venice – no competition there, Venice will always win, hands down. But Inspector Montalbano’s single status allows for a whole different flavor permeating his investigations, and he, like Guido Brunetti, shares the Italian reverence for really great food.

I didn’t want to fix dinner. I didn’t want to get out of bed. All I wanted to do was to read the whole book, and, when I finished, I wanted another one!

Inspector Montalbano is asked by a woman to find her missing brother, and he finds him almost immediately, dead, under bizarre circumstances. The brother has a very large amount of money unaccounted for, and unaccounted in terms of earnings, as well. He is a pharmaceutical representative, good at what he does – but he still has way too much money, and Inspector Montalbano finds he is rather fond of the prime suspect.

In the meantime, his office has also been tasked to find the reason several high level politicians have suddenly died, purportedly of a variety of causes, but in reality, all have died of drug overdoses. The problem is, that finding the culprit means exposing the reality of high level drug usage, and the inspector realizes the case has been dumped on his office because no one wants to take responsibility for what happens when the culprit is caught. It’s all very Italian, very Sicilian.

Between investigations, Inspector Montalbano eats some amazing meals. πŸ™‚ He takes his glass of wine and walks in the sand out to the sea. We get to know the characters working out of his office better, and to appreciate their quirkiness. This is a great series, a lot of fun. I think I need to go to Sicily for a visit. I definitely need some Italian food and a glass of vino!

Photo courtesy of

From time to time a word or phrase would appear that required going to the back of the book where the word is not only translated, but the concept explained, something crucial when reading a novel from another culture. In this series, it is particularly valuable, as the background for the crimes and their investigations with political implications, and if you don’t understand the politics, you can miss the point of the novel.

I found this book at for a mere $10.19 plus shipping.

June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Crime, Cultural, Entertainment, Family Issues, Fiction, Financial Issues, Florida, Living Conditions


  1. sounds interesting, and so my list seems to grow longer! πŸ™‚ italy always has this earthly but romantic mystery around it i guess. reminded of godfather; absolutely love it, the book more! πŸ™‚

    Comment by onlooker | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. We all need an easy read now and then, and this is a perfect summer read, Onlooker. πŸ™‚

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 17, 2009 | Reply

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