Wednesday, August 11, 2010

AUGUST HEAT: AN INSPECTOR MONTALBANO MYSTERY by Andrea Camilleri, trans. Stephen Sarterelli (2009)

When a colleague decides to extend his vacation, Chief Inspector Salvo Montalbano is forced to remain in Vigata, Sicily and endure the crazy-making August heat. Friends decide to join him and his long-suffering paramour and their young son Bruno disappears into a narrow shaft hidden at the base of the beach rental property. With Bruno recovered safely,thanks to a devoted companionable cat named Ruggero, Montalbano makes a grisly discovery in the false basement. And, that discovery leads him to unravel ugly truths about a cold case.

A couple of things irritated me about this book. One, Montalbano's girlfriend and her summer friends disappeared from the narrative as soon as the corpse was discovered, and two, one of the characters working in the police department and Montalbano's housekeeper spoke broken English as if out of Hollywood Central casting for stereotypes--or for those of you who watched The Flintstones in your formative years, as Fred sounded when he assumed the persona of Goggles Pisano. I like to think that the irksome dialect was something simply lost in translation.

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