THE PATIENCE OF THE SPIDER - Andrea Camilleri
One of the strangest things about reading THE PATIENCE OF THE SPIDER was the weird sort of feeling that I knew the story at the beginning. And your reviewer is nothing but sharp - about 20 pages in the penny dropped - one of the recently screened TV-Movies on our local SBS TV was based on the story behind this book. I plead that the story of Montalbano having been shot, and Livia's presence were pretty well (if not totally) non-existent in the TV Movie so I had a momentary feeling of considerable confusion.
In THE PATIENCE OF THE SPIDER, Montalbano is called back from sick leave to investigate the kidnapping and ransoming of a teenage girl. Along with the investigation, as the blurb indicates, he is reassessing his own life. He is constantly woken in the early morning, at the time that he was shot, and he's shaken by his own sense of vulnerability. He's (if it's possible) slightly more grumpy, slightly more edgy in this book and as a result many of his colleagues stand out as slightly more eccentric or laid back, or just different from him. His relationship with Livia is strong, but you can't help thinking if he's wondering if it's time for it go further. Of course there's the food - but in this book this seems to be slightly downplayed - whilst Montalbano struggles to find a motive for the kidnapping of the young woman. The ultimate resolution is beautifully ambiguous, Montalbano wonderfully human and there are some great supporting cast members.
Still recovering from his gunshot wound, Inspector Montalbano is feeling the weight of his years, and of his solitude. He's getting softer, more introspective, and critical of his life choices. But if withdrawing from society has become natural of late, he'll soon be forced to interact with others, compelled to intervene as a web of hatred and secrets threaten to squeeze its victims to death. This is Montalbano's most unusual and challenging case yet - and the one that will either change him or break him.