A new story featuring the wonderfully sardonic, irascible and devious Inspector Montalbano is usually something of a treat, and The Age of Doubt (his 14th outing) finds him in fine form.
Now in his 50s and not so sure of himself as he used to be (hence the title), Montalbano's latest adventure starts when a storm washes away part of the harbourside road in Vigata and he comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress. She tells him she is in town to meet her aunt's yacht, but things start to get complicated when the boat turns up along with a murdered man whose face has been so badly disfigured that he can't be recognised. And the owner of the yacht baffles Montalbano by saying she doesn't have a niece...
As is customary with Camilleri's novels, the delight is not in the crime plot - which is just as well, as most of the exposition comes in a rush at the end - but in the character of Montalbano.
It is hard not to like a man whose main loves are wry humour, eating and womanising - even though his advancing years are causing him some self-doubt with the latter. And, as always, his next favourite pastime is antagonising his superiors.
There are some deliciously humorous moments, such as his dealings with a furious police commissioner; a passionate affair of the heart (at least on Montalbano's side); and a cast of eccentric Sicilian colleagues. All told in Camilleri's wonderful featherlight prose. It's just a shame about the plot.
Terry Ramsey - The Telegraph, 11 January 2013