The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

Salvo Montalbano made his first appearance in this book originally published in Italy under the title La forma dell’acqua, 1994. In 1999 the RAI started to produce a television series based on this book series. Below is a list of novels and short stories featuring Montalbano taken from the excellent blog Mis detectives favorit@s. Salvo Montalbano, a name adopted in homage to the Spanish writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, is a police inspector (Commissario) in Vigáta, a fictitious village located in southern Sicily. He is an engaging character, friend of his friends, sensitive to social issues, resolute and intelligent, fond of good food, and with a slightly cynical touch. The reason for the title is explained in the book as follows:

I had a little friend, a peasant boy, who was younger than me. I was about ten. One day I saw that my friend had put a bowl, a cup, a teapot, and a square milk carton on the edge of a well, had filled them all with water, and was looking at them attentively.
What are you doing? I asked him. And he answered me with a question in turn.
What shape is water?
Water doesn’t have any shape! I said laughing. It takes the shape you give it

The story opens when a man is found dead at ‘the Pasture’, a gathering place for prostitutes and drug dealers, inside his car and with his pants down. The man is immediately recognised as Silvio Lupanello an engineer and constructor with a promising political future, and member of a wealthy local family. The cause of death was a heart attack while having sex with an unknown person. Despite the pressure to close the case Inspector Montalbano is wary and he requests a forty-eight hours extension to investigate further.

The Shape of Water is a fast-paced and entertaining police procedural. The story holds the reader’s attention during slightly over 200 pages with intelligence, humour and plenty of plot twists. It is very well constructed, nicely told and it has a great sense of place. The characters are both credible and appealing. Even if the ending is somehow predictable, the reader is left with a nice feeling and a desire to tackle the rest of the books in the series soon.

The Shape of Water has been reviewed by Maxine at Euro Crime, Italian mysteries, The Bookbag, Joe Barone’s Blog and the crime segments among others.

Ediciones Salamandra (in Spanish), Barnes & Noble.

Andrea Camilleri webpage (in Italian).

Andrea Camilleri at Wikipedia.


  1. The Shape of WaterLa forma del agua – (La forma dell’acqua, 1994)
  2. The Terracotta DogEl perro de Terracota – (Il cane di terracotta, 1996)
  3. The Snack ThiefEl ladrón de meriendas -(Il ladro di merendine, 1996)
  4. The Voice of the ViolinLa voz del violín – (La voce del violino, 1997)
  5. Excursion to TindariLa excursión a Tindari – ( (La gita a Tindari, 2000)
  6. The Scent of the NightEl olor de la noche – (L’odore della notte, 2001)
  7. Rounding the MarkUn giro decisivo – (Il giro di boa, 2003)
  8. The Patience of the SpiderLa paciencia de la araña – (La pazienza del ragno,- 2004)
  9. The Paper MoonLa luna de papel – (La luna di carta, 2005)
  10. August HeatArdores de agosto – (La vampa d’agosto, 2006)
  11. The Wings of the SphinxLas alas de la esfinge – (Le ali della sfinge, 2006)
  12. The Track of SandLa pista de arena – (La pista di sabbia,- 2007)
  13. The Potter’s Field – (Il campo del vasaio, 2008)
  14. The Age of Doubt – (L’età del dubbio, 2008)
  15. (La danza del gabbiano, 2009)
  16. (La caccia al tesoro, 2010)
  17. (Acqua in bocca, 2010 in collaboration with Carlo Lucarelli)
  18. (Il sonsiro di Agelica, 2010)
  19. La tana delle vipere, publication date unknown.
  20. Una voce di notte, publication date unknown.
  21. Riccardino, publication date unknown.

Collections of short stories

Andrea Camilleri

La forma del agua

Original title: la Forma dell’acqua, 1994

Translated by María Antonia Menini Pagès

Ediciones Salamandra (quinteto) 4ª edición, diciembre de 2009

Number of pages: 222

ISBN: 978-84-95971-77-7

9 thoughts on “The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri”

  1. >José Ignacio – Thanks for this excellent review. I have become quite an admirer of Andrea Camilleri, and I really do enjoy the interplay between Salve Montalbano and the other characters. I like the way Camilleri infuses local colour and such wonderful food, too, into his novels :-).

  2. >What shape is water? What a great question. I know you will say you didn´t make it up, but you selected it for me to read 😀

  3. >I like so much Camilleri and Salvo Montalbano adventures!!Gracias por acercarnos sus obras, y por la cantidad de información que enlazas. el personaje de Salvo, sobre todo ahora con sus 55 mal llevados ha crecido muy bien, ¿su cinismo se suaviza? Los títulos de los libros Camilleri siempre son evocadores. Tienes razón al decir que aunque intuimos el final, estamos deseando leer otro de la serie…Curioso, recuerdo bien el libro, y !qué extraño me suena Salvo en Inglés!, jejejeun abrazo 😉

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