Review: The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Mantle, 2013 (Hardback edition). Translated by Stephen Sartarelli, 2013. Originally published in Italian in 2010 as La caccia al tesoro. ISBN: 978-1-4472-2878-3. 282 pages.

The Treasure Hunt: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 16

The Treasure Hunt is the sixteenth instalment in the Inspector Montalbano Mystery series. I have yet to read the previous book, The Dance of the Seagull, and I’m happy to report that the next two novels in the series, Angelica’s Smile and Il gioco degli specchi, are already available in Spanish bookstores. Besides Sellerio Editore, the Italian publisher, has available another four books: Una lama di luce, Una voce di notte, Un covo di vipere and La piramide di fango. Not to mention several collections of short stories and the famous Riccardino, to be published after his death at the express request of Camilleri. Fortunately, for his fans, we will have no shortage of Montalbanos for quite a while.

Gregorio Palmisano and his sister Caterina, an elderly crazed couple, have entrenched themselves in their house and have begun to fire indiscriminately to everyone who passes by. Inspector Montalbano manages to disarm them both. Unintentionally he becomes a local hero when the incident is broadcasted live on television. Fortunately no one was injured. Inside the house, among other things, there are hundreds of little statuettes of the Madonna, a forest of crucifixes, a huge room full of pianos and a decrepit inflatable doll. Following this incident, days go by calmly until one day Montalbano receives an anonymous letter with a mysterious riddle that will force him looking for clues for the treasure hunt.

I discovered too late the Montalbano Mystery series. If I recall correctly the first I read was August Heat, back in 2009. My review, in Spanish, is here. Since then, I’ve read a dozen or so, not necessarily in chronological order, something that has never bothered me much. And I must admit I’m completely addicted to this series. Therefore don’t tell me I not warning you, my judgement is biased. And I loved this book. While it’s true that  there’s almost no mystery in The Treasure Hunt and the result is very predictable, for my taste, the novel is very well narrated, the plot is perfectly crafted and, as a consequence, my entertainment has been complete. I must emphasize that the friendly tone in which the story unfolds, has a gruesome turn that may offend some sensibilities. Maybe I have a twisted mind. Highly recommended.

It has not escaped me, and therefore I would like to highlight that part of this merit belongs to Stephen Sartarelli for his excellent translation.

Camilleri, as usual, takes advantage to introduce elements of social criticism as in the following conversation that underlines Julio in his excellent blog Mis queridos sabuesos: Blog de novela negra :

’Any new developments?’
’Dead calm. Did you know that Catarella has a theory about it?’
’About what?’
’About the fact that there are fewer robberies.’
’And how does he explain it?’
’He says that the robbers, the local ones, who rob the homes of working poor or snatch women’s purses, are ashamed.’
’Of what?’
’Of their big-time colleagues. The CEOs who drive their companies to bankruptcy after making off with people’s savings, the banks who are always finding the way to screw their customers, the big companies that steal public funds. Whereas they, the petty thieves who have to make do with ten euros or a broken TV or a computer that doesn’t work … they feel ashamed, and don’t feel like stealing any more.’

My rating: A (I loved it)

The Treasure Hunt has been reviewed at The crime segments (NacyO), Euro Crime (Karen), Reactions to reading (Bernadette), Reviewing the evidence (Diana Borse)  and Crime Review (Sylvia Maughan) amonog others.

Pan Macmillan 

Penguin

Sellerio Editore 

La caccia al tesoro – Il Commisario Montalbano Rai.tv

La búsqueda del tesoro de Andrea Camilleri

La búsqueda del tesoro

La búsqueda del tesoro es la decimosexto entrega de la serie de misterio del Comisario Montalbano. Todavía no he leído el libro anterior, La Danza de la Gaviota, y me alegra poder informar que las dos novelas siguientes de la serie, La sonrisa de Angelica y Juego de espejos, ya están disponibles en las librerías españolas. Además Sellerio Editore, la editorial italiana, tiene a su disposición otros cuatro libros: Una lama di luce, Una voce di notte, Un covo di vipere y La piramide di fango. Por no hablar de varias colecciones de relatos cortos y el ya famoso Riccardino, que será publicado después de su muerte, a petición expresa de Camilleri. Afortunadamente para sus fans, no tendremos escasez de Montalbanos durante bastante tiempo.

Gregorio Palmisano y su hermana Caterina, una pareja de ancianos enloquecidos, se han atrincherado en su casa y han comenzado a disparar indiscriminadamente a todo el que pasa. El comisario Montalbano logra desarmarlos. Sin querer se convierte en un héroe local cuando el incidente se retransmite en directo por televisión. Afortunadamente nadie resultó herido. Dentro de la casa, entre otras cosas, hay cientos de pequeñas estatuillas de la Virgen, un bosque de crucifijos, una enorme sala llena de pianos y una decrépita muñeca inchable. Después de este incidente, los días pasan tranquilamente hasta que un día Montalbano recibe una carta anónima con un acertijo misterioso que le obligará a buscar pistas en busca de un tesoro.

Descubrí muy tarde la serie de misterio de Montalbano. Si no recuerdo mal el primero que leí fue Ardores de agosto, allá por el 2009. Mi reseña está aquí. Desde entonces, he leído una docena más o menos, no necesariamente en orden cronológico, algo que nunca me ha molestado mucho. Y debo admitir que estoy completamente enganchado a esta serie. Por lo tanto no me diga que no lo advierto, mi juicio es sesgado. Y me encantó este libro. Si bien es cierto que no hay casi ningún misterio en La búsqueda del tesoro  y el resultado es muy previsible, para mi gusto, la novela está muy bien narrada, la trama está perfectamente elaborada y, en consequencia, mi entretenimiento ha sido completo. Debo hacer hincapié en que el tono amable en el que transcurre la historia, tiene un giro macabro que puede herir algunas sensibilidades. Tal vez tengo una mente retorcida. Muy recomendable.

No se me ha escapado, por lo que me gustaría destacar que parte de este mérito pertenece a Stephen Sartarelli por su excelente traducción (de la edión inglesa).

Camilleri, como de costumbre, aprovecha para introducir elementos de crítica social como en la siguiente conversación que subraya Julio en su excelente blog Mis queridos sabuesos: Blog de novela negra:

– ¿Alguna novedad más?
– Calma chicha. ¿Sabe que Catarella tiene una teoría al respecto?
– ¿Al respecto de qué?
– De que, por ejemplo, haya menos robos.
– ¿Y cómo se explica?
– Dice que los ladrones, los nuestros, los que roban en las casas de la pobre gente o los bolsos de las mujeres, están avergonzados.
– ¿De qué?
– De sus colegas más importantes. De los industriales que llevan a la quiebra a la empresa después de haber hecho que desaparezca el dinero de los ahorradores, de los bancos que encuentran la manera de joder a los clientes, de las grandes empresas que roban el dinero público. Mientras que ellos, los pobrecillos, tienen que conformarse con diez euros, un televisor roto, un ordenador que no funciona…. Se sienten avergonzados y se les pasan las ganas. (Traducción de Teresa Clavel Lledó)

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Los siguiente blogs, entre otros, han comentado o reseñado La búsqueda del tesoro: Lleguir en cas d’incendi (Marta Planes) Librero de libros (César Millán) Literatura y matemáticas, Mis queridos sabuesos: Blog de novela negra (Julio)

Editorial Salamandra  

Mis detectives favorit@s (Entrada sobre Salvo Montalbano – Andrea Camilleri)

7 thoughts on “Review: The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri

  1. José Ignacio – I love this series too. I like the characters, the setting and the interactions as much as anything else, and like you, I am quite biased. You know an author is talented when the novel keeps you engaged even if the mystery is not difficult to solve.

    • Thank you very much for your comment Margot. You’re right saying that it does take a talented writer to be able to grab the reader’s attention even when the mystery is quite obvious. In this particular case, there was no other choice..

  2. I, too, am addicted to this series. Love the characters, Vigata, the dialogues, Montalbano’s internal monologues, crazy Catarella, and the food references, although I’m often tempted to run out of the house to the nearest Italian restaurant.
    However, I concur on the gruesome turn and ending. That and the gore in The Dance of the Seagulls were disappointing. I hope that Camilleri isn’t running out of plot ideas or succumbing to a publisher’s wishes for more violence.
    I hope that his remaining books don’t have a lot of violence on the page; that has been a redeeming factor of his prior books.

    • Kathy as I said I may have a twisted mind. But anyhow the gore and gruesome elements do not bother me too much since I like to see it as a bit of an exaggeration, given the general tone of the book. Does it make sense?

  3. I think authors can tell of someone’s psychopathology without graphically showing it. The gruesomeness stuck in my mind for awhile. A friend who does not like violence and gore at all in books and seldom reads mysteries likes this series and Donna Leon’s, one reason being the lack of gruesomeness on the page. This book disturbed her, too.
    So, I hope Camilleri doesn’t resort to this too often.

  4. Pingback: Monthly Summary (June 2014) | The Game's Afoot

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