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The Track of Sand is Andrea Camilleri's twelfth outing in the wryly humorous Inspector Montalbano series.
Inspector Montalbano rises one morning to find the carcass of a horse on the beach in front of his seaside home. But no sooner do his men arrive, than the body has mysteriously vanished, leaving only a track in the sand. Before long Rachele, a beguiling equestrian champion, turns up at police headquarters to report her horse missing. The horse had been stabled at the grounds of a certain Saverio Lo Duca, one of the richest men in Sicily. Lo Duca has lost one of his own horses too.
Montalbano, his curiosity piqued, investigates, but before long things take a more disturbing turn . . . But who has Montalbano upset within this strange, unfamiliar world of horse-racing? And what has the Mafia to do with it all?
The Track of Sand is followed by the thirteenth novel in the series, The Potter's Field.
At the start of bestseller Camilleri's robust 12th Inspector Montalbano mystery (after 2009's The Wings of the Sphinx), the Sicilian inspector looks out his window and sees the carcass of a horse on the beach. The animal, he discovers, has been bludgeoned to death. As he turns his back to phone in the crime, the horse vanishes, leaving a track in the sand. Was the horse slaughtered for its meat by illegal immigrants? Is someone trying to send a message to the owner? Or is the Mafia edging its way into the racing industry? The repeated vandalizing of Montalbano's home and a Mafia thug's murder complicate the investigation. The street-smart inspector takes a broadly comic trip to the racetrack in an effort to link all these events together. While convoluted plotting and byzantine complexities distract, Montalbano uses some creative chicanery and tweaking of the law to provide a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.