Montalbano’s First Case by Andrea Camilleri

This novella (97 pages according to Amazon) is a prequel to the international bestselling Inspector Montalbano series. It was available on Net Galley, so I received my copy on my Kindle. Thank you, Net Galley!

According to the reviews on Amazon, “Salvo Montalbano is thirty-five years old and still a bit naive—and there are plenty of criminals ready to take advantage of his inexperience.” I didn’t detect any naivety in Montalbano at all, except, perhaps, he didn’t pay close enough attention to his father’s advice not to trust the girl. But then, Salvo is always susceptible to the ladies.

No one is killed in Montalbano’s First Case; in fact, Montalbano prevents a murder, solving other crimes. Montalbano receives his promotion to Inspector in the seaside town of Vigàta. He has been serving in a town in the mountains and is miserable away from the ocean. He can’t bear to even look at the mountains, and his boss is insightful enough to understand this. Salvo comes alive in Vigàta, renting the home we become familiar with in the series. He finds his favorite restaurant – some of the best scenes in Camilleri’s books describe Montalbano’s meals. He doesn’t have his housekeeper, Adelina, and Catarella, the policeman with Spooneritis, doesn’t appear. And Livia isn’t in the picture yet, instead his girlfriend is Mery.

Despite these absences, we have Salvo Montalbano in all his glory. With his characteristic mix of humor, cynicism, compassion, and love of good food, he breaks any laws he needs to in order to protect the weak, punish the bullies, and solve the case. This is a must for Montalbano followers.

I just wish some network would show the TV series that has been very popular in Europe and England. See Wikipedia for information about the series and a picture of Montalbano’s house. It is just as I imagined, although the actor playing Salvo is not what I had in mind. Well, I didn’t imagine Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander either, but I got used to him.


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