Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

The Safety Net

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Safety Net (2017/2020) Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Inspector Montalbano)

The Safety NetAs always, the story opens with a dream.

Head still numb with sleep, the inspector opened his eyes and immediately realized he was in bed. There was no Livia. She was at home, in Boccadasse. He’d dreamt the whole thing, including Livia’s dream.

Andrea Camilleri died last summer, and although I knew there weren’t that many books left, it’s somehow different knowing that all the Montalbano books we will ever have, have now been written.

I admit that the previous book was just fair. It wasn’t a bad book, but it was nowhere near as good as many earlier Montalbano books. This book, however, although playing a little bit on our memories of a younger Salvo, had what the previous book was missing.

First, for much of the book there is no official mystery to be resolved. Only a puzzle brought to Montalbano of home recordings, always made at the same time, on the same date, of a seemingly blank wall.

I’ll admit, I guessed that part of the mystery relatively quickly, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story, since it really would have been inconceivable to those wondering about it.

Never fear, there was plenty of food in this story.

The mere mention of the Baltic Sea got Montalbano’s brain whirring. Were there mullet in the Baltic Sea? Were there purpiteddri, baby octopi like the kind Enzo fed him, in the Baltic Sea? And, if so, what did they taste like? Surely they must have a different flavor, since he’d already noticed, for example, that the fish from the Adriatic Sea tasted slightly different from the fish in the Tyrrhenian. So one could only imagine the difference of flavor in a fish from so far north as Kalmar.

I love that when his mind wanders, it wanders to food.

And of course we get Catarella.

“I’ll notifize Isspecter Augello ’at ya just arrived onna premisses,” Catarella said as Montalbano walked in.

“Does he want to talk to me?”


“No need to trouble yourself. I’ll notarize him myself.”

And Fazio as well, but Catarella is just… Catarella.

There have always been observations on the world and life, but they became more poignant as the series has wound to a close.

But how many different kinds of protection there were in this world! There was a widespread desire to feel safe from everything: from what is known, what is unknown, from what might be but is not necessarily certain to be, from those who arrive from the sea, from those who worship a different God, or from those who worship the same God but pray in a different way. And so it was always best to play it safe. And the forms of protection proliferated.

I know there is at least one other book–the one he had written to be published after his death. But I’m not certian how many (if any) there are between this book and that.

Publisher: Penguin Books
Rating: 8/10


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