The Terracotta Dog

Andrea Camilleri

translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli
Picador 2004
A book review by Danny Yee © 2007
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.

November 2007

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%T The Terracotta Dog
%A Camilleri, Andrea
%M Italian
%F Sartarelli, Stephen
%I Picador
%D 2004 [1996]
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0330492918
%P 343pp