Hunting Season: Andrea Camilleri goes home
The novel's central figure is a pharmacist, and the story takes place in a time (the 1880s) when that meant combing the forest for medicinal plants rather than combing insurance law for the license to dispense generic equivalents.
Nobles and those who work the land co-exist in this Sicily, and Camilleri has a touching eye for the strengths and absurdities of all. The story is rooted in family secrets, and it's a lot bawdier than most mysteries. Montalbano fans will be delighted to find that not only does Camilleri set the novel in Montalbano's home town of Vigàta, but he even has a character curse the saints, as the splenetic Montalbano loves to do when he gets especially worked up.
The book comes with the kind of end notes from translator Stephen Sartarelli that are such informative additions to the Montalbano books, and with some remarks from Camilleri himself. I won't say more for fear of introducing spoilers, but suffice it to say that Camilleri loves his native island and its people, with all the weird, dark things they do.
© Peter Rozovsky 2014