“You either love Andrea Camilleri or you haven’t read him yet. Each novel in this wholly addictive, entirely magical series, set in Sicily and starring a detective unlike any other in crime fiction, blasts the brain like a shot of pure oxygen. Aglow with local color, packed with flint-dry wit, as fresh and clean as Mediterranean seafood — altogether transporting. Long live Camilleri, and long live Montalbano.” A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
A hail of bullets interrupts a period of dead calm. An elderly brother and sister open fire on the plaza below their apartment, punishing the people of Vigàta for their sins. News cameras capture Montalbano—gun in hand—as he scales the building to capture the ancient snipers. Inside he finds a nightmarish world of religious objects and a well-worn inflatable sex doll that will come back to haunt him. The Inspector is hailed as a hero after the televised adventure and calm returns. But Montalbano begins to receive cryptic messages in verse, challenging him to go on a "treasure hunt." Intrigued, he accepts, treating the messages as amusing riddles—until they take a dangerous turn.
Early in Camilleri's superlative 16th mystery featuring Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after The Dance of the Seagull), two reclusive religious fanatics brother and sister Gregorio and Caterina Palmisano start firing guns at the "sinners" in the street below their apartment building in Vig ta, Sicily. Montalbano and his team lay siege to the Palmisanos' house and eventually disarm the elderly couple without bloodshed. Soon afterward, Montalbano finds an envelope addressed to him marked "treasure hunt." Inside is a short poem that appears to be a riddle, the first of several such messages. While he's inclined to dismiss them as the work of a crank, a niggling sense of discomfort remains. Meanwhile, a number of bizarre incidents puzzle Montalbano, including the discovery in a dumpster of what at first is mistaken for a woman's corpse but is in fact a decrepit inflatable sex doll. Furthermore, it's an exact duplicate of the one Montalbano and crew noticed in Gregorio's bed the night of the siege. Once again, Camilleri's sardonic sense of humor distinguishes this Mediterranean crime novel from the pack.