Andrea Camilleri’s The Age of Doubt started off with a promising weather event that washed out part of a road leading to an encounter that…well, it looked like a good mystery from an Italian who sets his crime puzzles in Sicily. This is an Inspector Montalbano mystery and, apparently, they are best sellers. I remain unconvinced. Maybe it was the translation.
Several of the characters had odd speech patterns. One administrative staffer was so befuddled and ignorant it was a wonder he had a job at all–and he spoke in some bad 1940s Brooklyn half-literate vernacular that was not clever, not funny, just dumb. The guys are all panting over hot babes–some of the babes are cops and some are criminals. Hook-ups are foiled again and again for lame reasons or no reason at all. Lot of smoking and drinking but no Bogart.
The motive for the crimes was explained as if it was news that no reader would be familiar with but those readers in need of enlightenment must live in caves. The plot revolves around a not particularly imaginative criminal enterprise–no spoilers. But no surprises either. Really disappointed as I could have used the delightful mental break the book promised. And there are doubtless many many people who devour these detective stories–they collect kudos from all the major papers and magazines–so maybe it was just me. Or the translation. I thought Inspector Salvo Montalbano might have been more convincing with a little more Bogart and a lot less Southern Italian Inspector Clouseau.
The Age of Doubt (Inspector Montalbano) Andrea Camilleri | Penguin 2012