Rounding the Mark

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Rounding the Mark.jpg

Rounding The Mark starts with Montalbano on the verge of resigning after his mainland colleagues' repressive security measures at the G8 summit in Genoa. Having made up his mind and arranged the appointment with Bonetti-Alderighi, the inevitable differences of opinion with Livia and Mimi Augello lead to a sleepless night followed by an early morning swim, rudely interrupted by an encounter with a floating corpse. 

He uses his swimming trunks to tow the badly decomposed body ashore, resulting in an amusing confrontation between a naked Montalbano and an elderly couple from the mainland. 

It's not the right season for an early morning swim, and his exertions in the water, the confrontation on the beach and a blow on the head from an iron bar, force Montalbano to spend the day in bed, which in turn means he's unable to tender his resignation since Bonetti-Alderighi, has been called to the mainland just before Salvo rings to arrange the appointment.

A phone call from the coroner regarding the corpse reveals that as far as Doctor Pasquano is concerned, it's murder, but he's off to visit a sick relative and his deputy is quite convinced the victim drowned. Since Mistretta's the one who'll sign the death certificate, Drowned allows Montalbano to investigate the case without supervision by his superiors. Handy indeed.

As soon as he starts asking questions, it's obvious that things don't add up. Despite the fact that the victim's been dead a long time, the condition of the corpse isn't consistent with the length of time it has supposedly spent in the water. 

Responding to a colleague’s request for a replacement pair of glasses, Salvo runs across the second thread in the plot line. Arriving at the harbour, where two boatloads of illegal immigrants are in the process of being unloaded, Salvo finds himself chasing and catching a small boy, returning him to his mother. 

There’s something unsettling about the matter, but Salvo has other major concerns on his plate, including finding a replacement following the closure of his favourite trattoria.

As his suspicions about the runaway continue, he finds a number of suspicious coincidences and the suspicions kick into overdrive when the same boy is the victim of a hit and run incident on a remote roadway.

Predictably. the two cases are intertwined, and relate to the trafficking if children for slave labour, paedophilia or organ transplants. His discovery that he has unwittingly aided the traffickers by retrieving the runaway means that Montalbano is determined to bring them to justice, which he duly does, though at some personal cost.

© Ian Hughes 2012