The new novel in the transporting New York Times bestselling Inspector Montalbano mystery series
Vigàta is bustling as the new filming location for a Swedish television series set in 1950. In the production frenzy, the director asks the locals to track down movies and vintage photos to faithfully recreate the air of Vigata in that time. Engineer Ernesto Sabatello, while rummaging in the attic of his house, finds some films shot by his father from 1958 to 1963, always on the same day, March 27 and always the same shot; the outside wall of a country house. Montalbano hears the story, and intrigued by the mystery of it, begins to investigate its meaning. Meanwhile, a middle school is threatened by a group of armed men, and a closer look at the situation finds Montalbano looking into the students themselves and finally delving into the world of social media.
Bestseller Camilleri's 25th outing for Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2019's The Other End of the Line) offers a rich, nuanced mix of plot elements. Besides looking into a mysterious but nonfatal terror attack on a school, Montalbano has an unsought but unshakable obsession with a strange series of home movies belonging to a local resident with a tragic family history. The films show nothing but the same piece of a crumbling wall, each year from 1958 to 1963. He must also deal with a Swedish TV production that's taken over his Sicilian town of Vig ta and made everything look as it did in the 1950s. The rhythms and layers of the aging detective's thoughts, routines, and speech are droll and subtle, and fans will be attuned to Montalbano's attempt to reckon with a serious past mistake. As the cases conclude, with none of the resolutions showing up on official records, readers will feel a pang of loss that this may be one of the last visits they'll have from an old, wise friend. Camilleri died in 2019, having completed several books for posthumous publication.