Excursion to Tindari

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Excursion to Tindari.jpg

Issues with his superior, Commissioner Bonetti-Alderighi continue to figure prominently in the fifth Montalbano volume, Excursion To Tindari, which begins, once the obligatory corpse has been found at the front door of Via Cavour 44, with the news that the arrival of a new captain of the Flying Squad means that Montalbano will henceforth be confined to dealing with minor matters - Petty theft, domestic quarrels.... ID checks on immigrants... rather than the big stuff like murders.

It doesn't work out that way, of course. 

Almost as soon as the directive has been given a series of unfortunate circumstances (dysentery, a mugging and assorted other factors) rules the Flying Squad out of the picture and Montalbano's back in the thick of things.

There's an extra complication when Mimi Augello reveals that he's thinking of marrying and that his intended is a policewoman based in Pavia. Visiting the Commissioner to sound out the possibility of a transfer to Pavia Mimi finds that breaking up that band of Mafiosi at Vigata Police is one of  Bonetti-Alderighi's long-term ambitions. The application is promptly shelved as the battle lines are drawn.

Apart from investigating the murder, Salvo needs to circumvent Mimi's plans and further complications ensue following the disappearance of an elderly couple who, coincidentally, also live at Via Cavour 44. 

Along the way he’s also summoned to the headquarters of Don Balduccio, head of the Sinagra Mafia family, a visit which may or may not have anything to do with the two cases in front of him, but which raises serious issues when news of the visit reaches Bonetti-Alderighi.

While there's nothing on the surface to link the cases, as things transpire they're inextricably intertwined (you already guessed that, of course) although (predictably) it takes most of the book to establish a connection. Along the way there's Adelina's cucina, fractured dialogue from Catarella and all the other elements the reader has come to expect from a Montalbano story.

The plot line also brings new elements to the continuing saga. Bonetti-Alderighi's wish to break up Montalbano's band of merry men serves to bring them together and former rivalries are relegated to the back-burner. Salvo's solution to the Mimi question lays the foundation for further character developments and you even begin to suspect that thoughts of matrimony are lurking just below the surface in the Montalbano psyche.

© Ian Hughes 2012