A furtive meeting with a mafioso leads Inspector Salvo Montalbano
to the discovery of a cave with two corpses, dead lovers from fifty
years ago, watched over by a terracotta dog. Meanwhile, someone has
stolen a truckload of goods from a supermarket and then abandoned them.
The latter event initiates an escalating arc of violence, but Montalbano
remains obsessed with understanding what happened all those years ago,
while Sicily was awaiting the Allied invasion.
The Terracotta Dog has a good combination of mystery, setting, and
characters. Montalbano is likable and engaging, and there's entertainment
in his enjoyment of good food, his long-distance relationship with Livia,
and complications with Anna and Ingrid. And then there's his motley
crew of subordinates, an old schoolfriend turned pimp, and an aging
fascist refighting old battles.
The Terracotta Dog is perhaps my favourite of the five Inspector
Montalbano novels I have read so far. Since there's little ongoing plot
in the series, it's not a bad place to start.
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