When is an accident murder?

When the victim has had a pedicure…
Andrea Camilleri The Fourth Secret
This is a novella, (168 pages), which is part of a larger body of work: 16+ novels and countless short stories, which have evolved into a 9 season television series (26 episodes, with Luca Zingaretti as Montalbano). Beware the translator, he is an Italian author, and those books translated by Stephen Sartarelli are far better (Camelleri was awarded a 2012 crime writers international dagger for Potters Field, translated by Sartarelli). Sadly, this novella was translated by G Arizona and D Siracusa and often feels like a farce. There are also unforgivable spelling mistakes (eg here instead of hear).
The detective series (begun in 1994) features Inspector Montalbano (homage to a Spanish writer Montalban and his fictional detective Pepe Carvalho) who is a famous Sicilian detective in the Italian police force. Montalbano is a complex character, always clever, but often offputting (to me) as he can be very macho, mercurial, selfish. Yet I have continued to read the series, as each book is quite different. I also appreciate the European writing, which can be dramatic while stark, emotional while sparse. Do not start with this novella or you won’t continue the series. Begin with The Shape of Water. I read them out of order, as I found them, which might have lead to some confusion of character development. I intend to start with the television series as I have heard very good things about it.

Read on:
to Simeon (Maigret), Donna Leon (Italian detective).
If you like food to play a part in your novel.
If you like quaint police procedurals a la Agatha Christie.

3 stars

Quotes:
“Certainly it was quite the situation, but the Inspector couldn’t help but notice that Cadarella had a nice voice. …ah, sir, you should know that when I sing, I do damage. I’m so out of tune that dogs start barking as soon as they hear me.”
“Nine lines, including the title, at the bottom of the last column in the right. The page exuded complete indifference toward that unfortunate death, …”
“And so the plot thickened and thinned at the same time.”
Received as an ARC from Netgalley

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