The Pyramid of Mud
An Inspector Montalbano Mystery #22
Translated by Stephen Sartarelli
Penguin, January 2018
The discovery of the body of the chief accountant of a construction company in a sewer pipe on the development site is all the clue Inspector Montalbano needs to wonder what it’s all about, in this, the 22nd novel in this wonderfully understated series. Was the murder the result of his wife’s affair with her lover and being shot when catching them in the act? Or a smokescreen created by a corrupt group of contractors?
This is but one of several questions to which the Inspector needs an answer before he can solve the murder. And at the same time discover the goings-on in the area of construction and public works contracts.
As is usual in the series, the author exhibits many subtle touches, making the Inspector more human. Beside his love of food, Montalbano shows signs of aging. Is his hearing and sight going? And he reminds himself, if that’s the case, it’s time to retire. And his long distance love life with Livia. In this novel she exhibits an illness or, perhaps, lethargy, until she gets a dog as a pet that keeps her hopping and bouncing back, giving rise to the old minor arguments with the Inspector on the telephone, which he enjoys, recognizing it as a symptom of recovery.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, January 2018.