Fans of Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series will love the latest mystery, The Overnight Kidnapper.
For first time readers like myself, however, it took a moment to get used to the book’s distinct flavour.
The Overnight Kidnapper follows Sicily’s Inspector and his team as they try to solve three kidnappings, an arson and a murder (or two).
Camilleri’s book is a refreshing surprise for readers who are used to the dark, intense aura of crime and mystery novels. Can a mystery novel be dark and funny at the same time? In this case it can.
The Inspector’s day starts in various degrees of unfortunate events. First, a fly woke him up by flying inside his nostril. Then a supposedly quiet morning ended with him being thrown in jail after trying to stop a fistfight between two men. To top it off, he comes home to find his housekeeper has knocked out what she thought was a home invader with a frying pan on the head.
Things take an even stranger turn when women working at different banks report being held at gunpoint, chloroformed, then kidnapped. What was confusing about it was that they were all released the next day unharmed, with all their possessions still intact.
Montalbano can’t make heads or tails of the case. Just when he’s starting to get more traction on the kidnapping case, an arson case drops on his lap followed by a missing person’s case.
Is it the mafia? Is it a serial kidnapper that’s working his way up to becoming a serial killer? Or is it something entirely different? Are the cases linked or are they committed by different people?
Camilleri’s latest novel takes readers from clue to clue with ease and a great dollop of humour. The cultural idiosyncrasies aren’t lost in translation and make the reader laugh.
We feel for Montalbano as he questions his skills in trying to solve the confusing case. Is it because he is getting too old? Is it getting harder for him to solve cases as the years go by?
Camilleri is a gifted writer and sets the tone and setting so vividly that you can almost see yourself walking in the streets of Vigata, Italy. His translator, Stephen Sartarelli, is just as gifted in ensuring the nuances of Italian culture come across through the pages.
Even if you haven’t followed the series before, it won’t be hard to fall for the characters of The Overnight Kidnapper.
Kristyn M. Levis is a freelance writer, author and photographer based in Sydney. She is currently the managing editor of Her Collective and creative director of 3C Digital. Her first novel, The Girl Between Two Worlds, was published in 2016. Book Two, The Girl Between Light and Dark, was released in May 2018.