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The long-awaited last novel in the transporting and beloved New York Times bestselling Inspector Montalbano series
"At eighty, I foresaw Montalbano's departure from the scene, I got the idea and I didn't let it slip away. So I found myself writing this novel which is the final chapter; the last book in the series. And I sent it to my publisher saying to keep it in a drawer and to publish it only when I am gone." –Andrea Camilleri
Montalbano receives an early-morning phone call, but this time it's not Catarella announcing a murder, but a man called Riccardino who's dialed a wrong number and asks him when he'll be arriving at the meeting. Montalbano, in irritation, says: "In ten minutes." Shortly after, he gets another call, this one announcing the customary murder. A man has been shot and killed outside a bar in front of his three friends. It turns out to be the same man who called him.
Thus begins an intricate investigation further complicated by phone calls from "the Author" in tour de force of metafiction and Montalbano’s last case.
In an amusing metafictional twist, Camilleri (1925 2019) plays a part in his elegiac 28th and final mystery featuring Sicilian police inspector Salvo Montalbano (after The Cook of the Halcyon). Just shy of five o'clock in the morning, Montalbano's phone rings. The caller identifies himself as Riccardino and says, "We're all here already, outside the Bar Aurora, and you're the only one missing!" Peeved at being disturbed, Montalbano tells the stranger he'll be right there, hangs up, and goes back to bed. A second call comes an hour later from his police colleagues, who ask him to come to the Bar Aurora to investigate the murder of Riccardo Lopresti. Montalbano feels "strangely certain with a certainty as absolute as it was inexplicable that the poor bastard who was shot was the same person who had called him on the phone before dawn by dialing a wrong number." As motives begin to multiply, Montalbano's investigation is muddled by phone calls from "the Author" spouting far-fetched suggestions on how to proceed. Incisive wit colors this insightful and intriguing farewell. The sad, poetic ending is perfect.