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The Wings of the Sphinx (Inspector…

The Wings of the Sphinx (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (original 2006; edition 2009)

by Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (Translator)

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5331918,919 (3.65)37
Title:The Wings of the Sphinx (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)
Authors:Andrea Camilleri
Other authors:Stephen Sartarelli (Translator)
Info:Penguin Books (2009), Edition: 1, Paperback, 231 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Italy, Crime, Darebin, 2012

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The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri (2006)

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English (12)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
With Montalbano's bitterness about his ever-increasing age, I have to admit that I've found the last two books in this series not as enjoyable as the rest. I'm from the school that believes getting older is better than its many alternatives, and it's best to put up and shut up. Montalbano did not attend the same school. Fortunately, he spends very little time grousing about the inevitable in this installment, so my enjoyment factor shot back up to its usual level.

Another element that can adversely affect my enjoyment is Montalbano's relationship with Livia. Too often, their squabbling has appeared to be squabbling for its own sake, but in The Wings of the Sphinx, their disagreements show that they both realize that they are at a very serious crossroads in their relationship.

One of the things I enjoy most about Camilleri's series is the economy of his writing. He packs food, travel, musings about life, death, aging, the government, as well as humor and an intriguing murder investigation into fewer pages than many writers today. His economy of style doesn't sacrifice plot or character either. And I can't say enough about Stephen Sartarelli's translation. It's clear and engaging yet still gives English readers the flavor of Sicilian speech. He also includes notes in the back that can enlighten us about various items mentioned in the story. (But it's possible to ignore them and not lose anything in the reading.)

The Wings of the Sphinx is another strong book in one of my favorite series. I look forward to more. ( )
  cathyskye | Oct 26, 2013 |
Salvo Montalbano faces his life at 56 years of age and the problems with his relationship with Lucia. The mystery is interesting but not as captivating as usual. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
Since I'm adding this review quite a while after having finished the book, I only vaguely remember the plot (I dunno, someone done a murder or su'ink). Montalbano was his grouchy self with the usual relationship issues and snarky comments to his colleagues. I think I quite enjoyed the dialogue this one. Fun read. ( )
  h_d | Mar 31, 2013 |
When a young woman's body is found in a rubbish dump Inspector Silvio Montalbano and his team are at first baffled. Her face has been severely damaged so the only identifying feature they have to go on is a tattoo of what appears to be a butterfly on her shoulder and Montalbano uses his friends in the local media to publicise this and try to drum up some information. Eventually the team is led to a charitable organisation in which things are not always what they appear to be.

I read my first Camilleri novel only last year and while I liked it, I did not fall in love with its protagonist as so many other readers have done. However on my second meeting with this character and his environment I am well and truly smitten. This is, quite simply, a delightfully concise book full of humour and warmth and I revelled in its myriad of little joys that felt like they were hidden just for me.

Montalbano is once again worried about his advancing years but whereas this annoyed me a little in the previous book here I found it amusing and at times even poignant. The depiction of two Montalbanos inside his head who argue with each other about his motivations and behaviour is priceless (and relief-inducing because it's nice to know I'm not the only one who hears such voices). He is also experiencing some difficulties with his long-time love interest Livia but he doesn't let this get in the way of his investigating. Well not much anyway. In the end he wades through all these personal problems, stands up to the ever-present political and business interests who try to influence his work and even untangles all the wrongly transcribed messages from his devoted but fairly useless desk sergeant Catarella to solve the crime with intelligence and a dash of panache.

Much of the enjoyment in the book stems from the word play and language games with which the book is littered; a testament both to Camilleri and his translator Stephen Sartarelli. I cannot think of any aspect of translation that would be more difficult to get right than the range of both obvious and subtle humour on display here. But the book is not all laughter and lightness; alongside the almost slapstick moments such as a police department which can't afford petrol for its cars there are touching elements too like Montalbano's growing intolerance for the death he is confronted with in his work and on his television screen.

I read this book in not much more than a single sitting and enjoyed every minute of it. The implausible but nevertheless compelling set pieces, the seriousness with which Montalbano treats lunch and the brilliant depiction of local life and customs are a welcome treat. In the middle of a cold and gloomy winter you can't ask for much more than a book which puts a smile on your face for several days. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Apparently, this is one of a long series featuring Inspector Montalbano and his colleagues. Montalbano seems to be at war with the Sicilian police system; and his desk sergeant Catarella adds to the general chaos by garbling every phone message and mangling every name.

The police stations have no gasoline, the courts have no paper, the hospitals have no thermometers, and the government is thinking about building a bridge to nowhere. But there is always plenty of gasoline for the useless escorts of ministers, undersecretaries, committee chairmen, senators, chamber deputies, regional deputies, cabinet chiefs, and underassistant briefcase carriers...

Inspector Montalbano is 56 and having a crisis with his long-distance girlfriend. He's consuming huge quantities of fabulous Sicilian food, making obscene wisecracks to superiors and stowing half-smoked cigarettes in his burnt-out jacket pocket. He's also digging too deeply into a case that's sure to bring trouble.

A twenty-something woman has been found naked in an illegal dump with her face shot off. The main clue to her identity is the Sphinx moth tattooed on her shoulder blade. Montalbano eventually connects the victim, who is Russian, to an association called Benevolence that helps young women imported from other countries escape prostitution. Montalbano suspects that Benevolence is hiding bad things behind a good cause.

Montalbano's seemingly endless quest for food was a distraction, and his struggling love relationship failed to lend much to the story. An easy read that didn't require much involvement – perhaps one needs to read from the beginning to warm to these characters. ( )
  Jawin | Mar 2, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrea Camilleriprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillo, LiesbethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ζερβού, ΚατερίναTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kahn, MosheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menini, María AntoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quadruppani, SergeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sartarelli, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vidal, PauTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woźniak, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Whatever happened to those early mornings when, upon awakening, for no reason, he would feel a sort of current of pure happiness running through him?
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Chief Insp. Salvo Montalbano finds himself in the midst of a serious crisis with his significant other, Livia. He is uncertain what he can and should do to repair the rift that has developed between them. Meanwhile, the inspector must tackle a difficult case—the gunshot murder of an attractive young woman whose nude body was left in a dump. As Montalbano and his team first attempt to identify the victim based on a butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder, they learn of a possible link to an influential Catholic charity. Soon they start to feel political pressure to steer the inquiry in a different direction.
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Becoming increasingly disillusioned with his violent career and his on-again, off-again relationship with Livia, Inspector Salvo Montalbano investigates the shooting death of a young woman whose tattoo links her to the underworld sex trade.

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