The Terra-Cotta Dog

The Terra-Cotta Dog

The Terra-Cotta Dog opens with a mysterious tete-a-tete with a mafioso, some inexplicably abandoned loot from a supermarket heist, and some dying words that lead inspector Montalbano to a secret grotto in a mountainous cave where two young lovers, dead fifty years and still embracing, are watched over by a life-size terra cotta dog. Montalbano's passion to solve this old crime takes him, heed of personal danger, on a journey through the island's past and into a family's dark heart amid the horrors of World War II.

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The skeletons are from WW II and the Italian detective sets out to solve the mystery just for the heck of it. Along the way he saves a woman from abuse by her father-in-law and solves another mystery about stolen grocery trucks with a Mafia connection - after all this is Sicily.

The Terracotta Dog is the second outing for the fractious Inspector Salvo Montalbano and his team based in Vigàta, Sicily and despite this being only my third read from the series I already feel that I am reaping the benefits of a growing familiarity with the characters and the flexible justice system that Camilleri recounts. But at the same time as Montalbano is involved in overseeing this operation of amateur dramatics, complete with a weapon he really isnt keen on being in charge of, a major theft at a local supermarket is underway. In The Terracotta Dog it is the discovery of a second hidden chamber deep inside the original cave with two embracing corpses, both dead for over fifty-years, that is the real substance of this wry police procedural, and the supermarket theft that is a mere diversion along the way. Whilst the central attraction in the novels is the eponymous Inspector Salvo Montalbano with his pragmatic approach to crime fighting and delivering justice that proves so compelling, the secondary characters are just as intrinsic to my enjoyment.

Poi è diventato un classico, e il commissario Montalbano quasi uno di famiglia. Finché un'amica francese, che parla e legge correntemente l'italiano, non s'è incuriosita agli aspetti dialettali.

Minor characters and their quirks shine here--most notable are the buffoonish Catarella, the ambitious Mimi, and Montalbano's long-distance long-suffering lover, Livia. The final mystery that Montalbano pursues may seem trivial for some given the amount of action present in the first half of the novel, but his obsession with the 50-year old death of two young lovers says so much about his character.

Digital audio narrated by Grover Gardner 3.5*** Book two in the Inspector Montalbano series has him solving a 50-year-old crime. As he works to solve this old mystery, which has him delving into the islands past and the horrors of World War II, he also has to deal with modern crime wave, shoot-outs, betrayals, a complicated love life and the politics of the police department. Camilleri populates the novel with an assortment of colorful characters, from mafioso crime bosses, to intimidated shop owners, to faithful partners on the police force and a bevy of beauties that complicate Montalbanos life.

When I listened to this book read (very well, I hasten to add) by a British actor, my head was filled with images of English folk on holiday in Sicily.

Ah, e una volta ho visto una puntata di una fiction orrenda con l'Arcuri e Garko, e forse è proprio quello il motivo per cui non guardo fiction, sarò rimasta traumatizzata, tant'è che non mi ricordo nemmeno più il titolo.

The author has also created a strong, interesting character in Montalbano. The Terra-Cotta Dog was a very enjoyable read and Camilleri and wonderful addition to my list of authors.

En este segundo los personajes eran menos atractivos -salvo Montalbano, claro-que en el primero.

Andrea Camilleri (born september 6, 1925 in Porto Empedocle) is an Italian writer. From 1948 to 1950 Camilleri studied stage and film direction at the Silvio D'Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts, and began to take on work as a director and screenwriter, directing especially plays by Pirandello and Beckett. In 1992, after a long pause of 12 years, Camilleri once more took up novel-writing. In 1994 Camilleri published the first in a long series of novels: La forma dell'Acqua (The Shape of Water) featured the character of Inspector Montalbano, a fractious Sicilian detective in the police force of Vigàta, an imaginary Sicilian town.