I buy every Inspector Silvio Montalbano mystery as soon as they come out in the US even if it takes me awhile to review them.
The Wings of the Sphinx is the 11th mystery by Andrea Camilleri featuring the Sicilian Inspector. In The Wings of the Sphinx, Montalbano must solve a rather grisly murder while still having relationship issues with his longtime, long distance love, Livia.
At 56 years old Montalbano is feeling his age. Much in this novel is familiar to readers of Camilleri’s past books: Montalbano is still savoring meals at Enzo’s as well as those fixed by his housekeeper, his conversations with desk sergeant Catarella are as confusing as ever and of course Montalbano still lives in the fictional town of Vigata where he is still enjoying long walks on the jetty.
Camilleri continues to take undisguised swipes at Silvio Berlusconi. Though I would be inclined to miss many of the subtleties the author thoughtfully includes notes at the back of the book to help his non-Italian readers.
The mystery in The Wings of the Sphinx revolves around the discovery of the body of a young woman who has been shot in the face and left naked in the city dump.
Montalbano leaves the scene of the crime as quickly as he gets there unable to deal with the death of yet another young victim. The book tackles the media’s obsession with subjecting us daily to stories of death and violence.
The Inspector Montalbano books have been turned into a television series in Italy. Previously they were available only in a format that was not compatible with US DVD’s. Now they are available in a US compatible format. I just ordered a set and hope to be able to watch them and review them soon.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestseller Camilleri’s sublime and darkly humorous 11th whodunit featuring Chief Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2009’s August Heat) finds the 56-year-old Sicilian policeman in the midst of a serious crisis with his significant other, Livia. Montalbano is uncertain what he can and should do to repair the rift that has developed between them.
Meanwhile, the inspector must tackle a difficult case—the gunshot murder of an attractive young woman whose nude body was left in a dump. As Montalbano and his team first attempt to identify the victim based on a butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder, they learn of a possible link to an influential Catholic charity. Soon they start to feel political pressure to steer the inquiry in a different direction. Camilleri balances his hero’s personal and professional challenges perfectly and leaves the reader eager for more.