Synopses & Reviews
The seventeenth installment of the beloved New York Times bestselling series that boasts more than 600,000 books in print
The last four books in Andrea Camilleris Inspector Montalbano series have leapfrogged their way up the New York Times bestseller list, perfectly positioning Angelicas Smile to ascend to even greater heights.
A rash of burglaries has got Inspector Salvo Montalbano stumped. The criminals are so brazen that their leader, the anonymous Mr. Z, starts sending the Sicilian inspector menacing letters. Among those burgled is the young and beautiful Angelica Cosulich, who reminds the inspector of the love-interest in Ludovico Ariostos chivalric romance, Orlando Furioso. Besotted by Angelicas charms, Montalbano imagines himself back in the medieval world of jousts and battles. But when one of the burglars turns up dead, Montalbano must snap out of his fantasy and unmask his challenger.
“Donna Leon’s 20th Venetian mystery featuring her compassionate police detective, Commissario Guido Brunetti, epitomizes what we treasure most about this series: a feeling for the life of a sublimely beautiful city and a sensitivity to the forces that are reshaping it. Not to mention the pleasure of being in Brunetti’s company when this shrewd but scrupulously honest man is having a crisis of ethics at the flower market or trying to pry information from a hostile nun.”
“By now, with the arrival of Donna Leon’s 20th Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, the Venetian police commissioner seems almost as much an institution as the city’s venerable buildings. … In an age of diminished civic and religious authority, the commissario—as his investigation proceeds—must make Jesuitical decisions of his own about guilt and innocence, punishment and absolution. In this finely written account, he comes down (as we know he will) on the side of the angels.”
“This fine novel is Leon’s 20th mystery featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, the unparalleled Venetian police investigator who enlivens this intelligent series. … As always, Brunetti’s investigative acumen, his patience, and most of all, his profound comprehension of the human psyche enable him to bring the case to a closure of sorts. Yet the powerful conclusions does not, in fact, directly divulge the solution, and it is this haunting ambiguity that renders Drawing Conclusions Leon’s most provocative novel to date. … VERDICT: Aficionados of literary mysteries such as those written by P.D. James and Michael Dibdin will revel in this stellar book. If you read only one mystery this year, make it this one.”
“Leon’s twentieth novel starring Venetian police Commissario Guido Brunetti is one of her best. … When [Brunetti] muses, the reader listens almost hypnotically, transfixed by the somehow ennobling ordinariness of this remarkable man’s humanity but also by the subtlety of his mind and his absolute refusal to succumb to the tyranny of bureaucrats and moralists. … Leon’s popularity among mystery fans has grown steadily, but over the last several years, she has become a must-read for all those who favor character-driven crime stories.”
“There is always doubt mixed with anticipation before diving into the latest in a favorite mystery series. The uncertainty is always there -- will it deliver the same fascination as previous books? Or will it disappoint? … The compelling characters and complex plot in Leon's Drawing Conclusions place it among her best. The atmosphere of the city, along with Leon's sharp insights and powerful narrative, validate her often-recognized status as a master of literary crime fiction.”
Praise for Angelica's Smile:
“[S]ublime...colorful characters and a sleek pace.”—Kirkus Reviews
“CWA International Dagger Award-winner Camilleris many fans will shout ‘grazie for his 17th Insp. Salvo Montalbano mystery....[A] delightful caper, replete with charming companions and a setting thats a pleasure to return to.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Camilleri] never disappoints....Inspector Montalbano is completely hysterical and absolutely charming.”—Suspense Magazine
Praise for Andrea Camilleri and the Montalbano Series:
“Camilleris Inspector Montalbano mysteries might sell like hotcakes in Europe, but these world-weary crime stories were unknown here until the oversight was corrected (in Stephen Sartarellis salty translation) by the welcome publication of The Shape of Water…This savagely funny police procedural…prove[s] that sardonic laughter is a sound that translates ever so smoothly into English.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Hailing from the land of Umberto Eco and La Cosa Nostra, Montalbano can discuss a pointy-headed book like Western Attitudes Toward Death as unflinchingly as he can pore over crime-scene snuff photos. He throws together an extemporaneous lunch of shrimp with lemon and oil as gracefully as he dodges advances from attractive women.”—Los Angeles Times
“[Camilleris mysteries] offer quirky characters, crisp dialogue, bright storytelling—and Salvo Montalbano, one of the most engaging protagonists in detective fiction…Montalbano is a delightful creation, an honest man on Siciliys mean streets.”—USA Today
“Camilleri is as crafty and charming a writer as his protagonist is an investigator.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Like Mike Hammer or Sam Spade, Montalbano is the kind of guy who cant stay out of trouble…Still, deftly and lovingly translated by Stephen Sartarelli, Camilleri makes it abundantly clear that under the gruff, sardonic exterior our inspector has a heart of gold, and that any outburst, fumbles, or threats are made only in the name of pursuing truth.”—The Nation
“Camilleri can do a characters whole backstory in half a paragraph.”—The New Yorker
“Subtle, sardonic, and molto simpatico: Montalbano is the Latin re-creation of Philip Marlowe, working in a place that manages to be both more and less civilized than chandler Los Angeles.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Wit and delicacy and the fast-cut timing of farce play across the surface…but what keeps it from frothing into mere intellectual charm is the persistent, often sexually bemused Montalbano, moving with ease along zigzags created for him, teasing out threads of discrepancy that unravel the whole.”—Houston Chronicle
“Sublime and darkly humorous…Camilleri balances his heros personal and professional challenges perfectly and leaves the reader eager for more.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Montalbano mysteries offer cose dolci to the world-lit lover hankering for a whodunit.”—The Village Voice
“In Sicily, where people do things as they please, Inspector Salvo Montalbano is a bona fide folk hero.”—The New York Times Book Review
“The books are full of sharp, precise characterizations and with subplots that make Montalbano endearingly human…Like the antipasti that Montalbano contentedly consumes, the stories are light and easily consumed, leaving one eager for the next course.”—New York Journal of Books
“The reading of these little gems is fast and fun every step of the way.”—The New York Sun
“This series is distinguished by Camilleris remarkable feel for tragicomedy, expertly mixing light and dark in the course of producing novels that are both comforting and disturbing.”—Booklist
Donna Leon's latest New York Times bestseller "is one of her best" (Booklist, starred review)
Twenty years ago Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti and his creator, Donna Leon, first introduced readers to the delights-and dangers-of Venice. Now they have millions of devoted fans. In Drawing Conclusions, a young woman arrives home and senses that all is not right in the apartment below. When she investigates, she finds her neighbor lying lifeless on the floor. The autopsy shows that the widow's death was due to a heart attack, but Brunetti is convinced that things are not as straightforward as they seem. With her signature combination of humanity, nuanced detail, and psychological insight, Leon's twentieth Brunetti mystery reaffirms her place in the pantheon of crime fiction.
About the Author
A New Yorker of Irish/Spanish descent, Donna Leon first went to Italy in 1965, returning regularly over the next decade or so while pursuing a career as an academic in the States and then later in Iran, China and finally Saudi Arabia. It was after a period in Saudi Arabia, which she found ‘damaging physically and spiritually’ that Donna decided to move to Venice, where she has now lived for over twenty years.
Her debut as a crime fiction writer began as a joke: talking in a dressing room in Venice’s opera-house La Fenice after a performance, Donna and a singer friend were vilifying a particular German conductor. From the thought ‘why don’t we kill him?’ and discussion of when, where and how, the idea for Death at La Fenice took shape, and was completed over the next four months.
Donna Leon is the crime reviewer for the London Sunday Times and is an opera expert. She has written the libretto for a comic opera, entitled Dona Gallina. Set in a chicken coop, and making use of existing baroque music, Donna Gallina was premiered in Innsbruck. Brigitte Fassbaender, one of the great mezzo-sopranos of our time, and now head of the Landestheater in Innsbruck, agreed to come out of retirement both to direct the opera and to play the part of the witch Azuneris (whose name combines the names of the two great Verdi villainesses Azucena and Amneris).