The Patience of the Spider

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Patience of the Spider.jpg

Salvo Montalbano’s recuperation from the bullet wound he suffered at the end of Rounding The Mark is more or less complete by the start of The Patience of the Spider, though Salvo still finds himself upended into consciousness at three-twenty-seven and forty seconds every morning.

His recuperation is interrupted when Susanna Mistretta, an attractive university student with a terminally-ill mother is abducted. On the surface it appears to be a straightforward case of kidnapping for ransom, but Montalbano, officially on the periphery of the investigation, becomes intrigued by apparent anomalies starting with the direction that the missing girl's motorbike was pointed when it was found.

There's also a small matter of common knowledge, since everyone in the area knows that the girl's family would be unable to pay any sizeable ransom. On the other hand, Susanna's uncle, a wealthy engineer with a questionable past and political ambitions, would be more than able to meet any kidnappers' demands, and it soon becomes obvious that he's the real target.

As Montalbano becomes intrigued by what's going on, he has other matters to consider, and as he weaves his way through them the pieces that will eventually fall into place to solve the case are gradually unearthed, though that's not always obvious at the time. 

And in the end, once again the reader is left with a sense of Montalbano's outrage at the machinations of the corrupt and hypocritical figures that dominate Italy's media, business and politics in the Berlusconi era, and although the case has been solved it seems safe to assume that  there won't be any further action taken.

© Ian Hughes 2012