And yes, publisher (Penguin), I will not quote from this uncorrected proof until I have checked the finished book first.
I think, though, that I can offer a general observation or two about how Camilleri keeps the series fresh into its eleventh installment. One is that the quips and political jabs are sharp as ever. Another is that Camilleri finds new ways to express his protagonist's aging.
Montalbano has moved into his fifties as the series has progressed (He's in his mid-fifties here), and Camilleri does much more than have him complain about creaking bones or occasional inability to sleep. In recent books, Montalbano has come to regard his lover, Livia, with increasing tenderness even as the relationship remains as tempestuous as ever. In the new novel, Montalbano finds youth itself ever more precious, rebelling against the obscenity of children's or young adults' slaughter in war or at criminals' hands.
I have heard that one reader, somewhere, complained of "all that growing-old stuff" in Camilleri's recent books. But what could be more universal, more human, than aging? What could be more touching than the spectacle of a character (and an author) finding life ever more precious? Camilleri never gets old.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009