Another Inspector Montalbano mystery which is well up to the author's high standards. The underlying humour does not
detract from the darkness of the plot and there is, this time, something of an elegiac air. Having mentioned elsewhere that
so many detectives have flawed personal lives, deciding which characteristics of Montalbano are drawbacks is both easy and
hard to decide. He does not want to be promoted away from Vigato, enjoys his food rather too much, gets depressed easily,
does not want to commit to his long established lover who lives in Genoa and is, inevitably for Sicily, careful with his dealings with the Mafia. He does not suffer fools gladly and seems to play favourites at times (or rather, the reverse). All these traits do provide a lively and pleasing story. Camilleri has been praised for his sense of place which is apparent in the air of near
resignation at the ongoing socio-political environment and also, conversely, in the leisured pace of things.