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by Andrea Camilleri and Stephen Satarelli, trans.
Penguin, March 2015
288 pages
ISBN: 0143123777

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This is the eighteenth entry in the Inspector Salvo Montalbano series of mysteries set in present-day Sicily. Thanks to the skillful translations done by Stephen Sartarelli, English speaking readers can enjoy what vast numbers of Europeans have been loving for a long time. The rather easy-going and not-too-morally rigid protagonist brings a lightheartedness and love of living (especially food) that coupled with his underlying goodness provide a sharp contrast to the violent and determinedly evil elements of Sicilian society that he is constantly exposed to and involved with. Andrea Camilleri has absolutely mastered the drama of this contrast and his novel never slows down or fails to ring true.

Bombs explode outside a pair of empty warehouses, doing little damage and understood by the police as probable warnings of some sort set off possibly by really incompetent lowlifes. Because of the proximity of one of these warehouses to the home of a very successful drug kingpin, Montalbano begins to suspect that this man is either the target of the message or its sender. As the inspector tries to follow one lead after another, he is attracted to and clearly hit on by an extremely beautiful and very available woman named Liliana -- and gradually his relationship with her becomes yet another lead to pursue and understand.

The trouble is, to a bizarre degree, that every single lead Montalbano uncovers leads not only to a dead end but to a contradiction of every conclusion he has come to about this case and he is forced to begin all over again. And then he realizes that all of the leads he has managed to discover have been carefully set up for him, leading him around and around in circles, never getting anywhere near the truth of what is going on. Hence, the title of the novel.

Intricately plotted and wonderfully played out, GAME OF MIRRORS is by turns funny, confusing, and shocking. While there are aspects of the novel that I find annoying -- the character Catarella's appalling dialect meant to sound like the street slang of an Italian immigrant to New York City but mostly unintelligible -- I can wholly recommend this and the preceding books in this series. Andrea Camarelli is a marvellous writer and his creation brings to life a time and a place like no other.

Diana Borse is retired from teaching English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and savoring the chance to read as much as she always wanted to.

Reviewed by Diana Borse, March 2015

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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