Manual The Age of Doubt (The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries Book 14)

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The crew of a mysterious yacht - the Vanna - due to dock in the area have discovered a corpse floating in the water, the dead man's face badly disfigured. It isn't long before Montalbano begins to become suspicious of the Vanna's inhabitants. Who is the yacht's owner, the glamorous and short-tempered Livia Giovannini? How has she accrued her riches? And why does she spend so much time at sea?

Divers and Sundry: The Age of Doubt

Meanwhile Montalbano finds himself getting into tangles with the dreaded Commissioner, the exasperating Dr Lattes and a very beautiful young woman at the harbour, with whom he becomes dangerously besotted. Can the Inspector clear his head long enough to unravel this murky mystery?

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We watch him tell his bureaucratic bosses some of the biggest, most shameful lies of his career. We see him perform a heroic, athletic rescue that would be amazing even for a young man. And we share his joy in numerous heavenly Sicilian dishes, and feel his pain over a meal that's overcooked, flavorless and over-salted.

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Montalbano's staff add hugely to the fun, as usual. Catarella garbles names delightfully whenever he answers the phone. And Montalbano sends Mimi off to seduce a major suspect, and learn her secrets - the nymphomaniac owner of a certain suspicious yacht in the harbor. Mimi's haggard condition after these information-pumping sessions is hilarious.

Andrea Camilleri has a rare comic genius. I laughed my way through The Age of Doubt.

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But it's also a poignant love story, like nothing I've encountered before in the Montalbano novels. I loved every minute of this book, and never stopped marveling at the craft and charm of the writing.

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The atmosphere is also wonderful. The sea is a strong, brooding presence - it washes out roads in a storm, setting the scene for Montalbano's loss of his emotional bearings. And it aids and abets illicit passion and crime. Blue in Washington Barry Ballow. Into his pondering of the cycle of life drops a murder case connected to two luxury yachts that have turned up in Vigata's small harbor.

The subsequent investigation leads to the Inspector's meeting of a stunningly beautiful young harbor official. Salvo is poleaxed with love by the encounter and much of the rest of the story is taken up by his struggles to cope with the uncomfortable infatuation. His legendary focus on police business suffers; his relationship with long-time girlfriend Livia becomes seriously at risk; and he is pushed into a manic binge on seafood at the local trattoria. Still, a midlife crisis arguably makes even the most rational and responsible people do improbable and irrational things, so maybe even the Inspector In sum, a good read, if not the best book in this very high standard series.

Andrea Camilleri is on of my favorite writers. I've read more than half a dozen of his books. Although I loved this story about the workings of diamond smuggling, the ending disappointed me. Inspector Montalbano falls in love with a much younger woman and I knew the romance could not continue because it would spoil one of the plot lines all of Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano novels have depended on, Montalbano's long distance relationship with Livia a relationship that has apparently existed for at least the last twenty years of Montalbano's life.

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I expected it to end with the return of the girl's fiance, but it did not. That's how Camilleri could have ended it, and in my mind should have, but didn't. Nevertheless, I'll soon be buying another one because each book is well written, the characters are well drawn, and the plots are always clever. As a huge fan of Andrea Camilleri's series of books, set in Sicily about the wonderfully touching and very funny Inspector Montalbano, I was very eager to read the 14th installment.

Camilleri is brilliant - the fun he is having as he gallops through the pages, visiting havoc and calamity on Montalbano's life, is evident - and full marks to Stephen Sartarelli for a translation that somehow manages to keep those impressions intact. The first 13 books were all wonderful, and The Age of Doubt No. Montalbano is still experiencing attraction to women other than Livia, doubt about his advancing age, humorous jousts with Dr Pasquano, and the horrors of having to deal with the Commissioner - that 'colossal pain' Bonetti-Alderighi - and his excruciating pest of a cabinet chief, Dr Lattes.

Also present are his team - the suave Mimi, the records-complex afflicted Fazio, and the simple and devoted Catarella.