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August Heat by Andrea Camilleri
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August Heat (2006)

by Andrea Camilleri

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Commissario Montalbano (10)

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662None14,431 (3.68)51
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» See also 51 mentions

English (15)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Catalan (2)  French (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Ah, the series is back in form. Crisp comedy had me laughing out loud over my lunch, but the denoument was much more nuanced and human and touching. 4 1/2 stars, ( )
  ffortsa | Oct 25, 2013 |
One of his absolute best! ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
This could have been the best book in the world and all I would have remembered is the thing about cockroaches. It's literally wiped my mind clean of any other detail about this book. From the two stars, I'm guessing it wasn't one of my favourites. I think the hight point of this series for me is still Montalbano using his underwear to drag a corpse from the sea and that time he got almost got shot in the colon. Good times. ( )
  h_d | Mar 31, 2013 |
It’s August and Inspector Salvo Montalbano of the fictional Vigata police force (in the very real Sicily) is due to be joined by his girlfriend for a summer holiday. Knowing that he is often caught up with an investigation Livia demands that he finds a rental house for some friends of hers so that she won’t be bored while he works. Given the time of year he is very lucky to find something but it turns out to be a bit of a horror house. The family is treated to several infestations of creepy-crawlies and then their young son disappears. This leads to uncovering corruption in the local building industry and finding a hidden dead body.

When they talk of this series most people talk of two things, the first being the characters. They certainly are terrific. I found Montalbano funny, nicely odd and a bit annoying at times but that did seem to make him more realistic that if he’d been entirely quirky and lovable. His penchant for stripping down to his swimming trunks at every available opportunity and his quest for a decent meal mostly made up for the somewhat tiresome ageing-related angst. The other characters that I assume are regulars, such as his intelligent offsider Fazio and the devoted if fairly incompetent Catarella, provided good contrast and most of the laughs. It is here too that Stephen Sartarelli’s translation kicks up a notch (from a starting point of excellent) to deftly show the divergent linguistic styles of the players. I did find the female characters a bit more stereotypical, and therefore far less interesting, than the men but it’s a minor point.

The other aspect of these books that is always talked about is the depiction of Sicilian life and that was the standout feature for me. Of course there is the ever-present influence of the Mafia and the creative mechanisms the Police have to devise to thwart the institutionalised corruption but there are wonderful small details as well. Surely there’s nowhere else in the world that a suspect who felt a bit faint would be treated to a cognac? The August heat of the setting was also quite brilliantly depicted, though I thought they all needed to toughen up a bit but I admit I am a bit biased living in a place which endures many months of such heatwaves every year.

I’m afraid I didn’t find the plot completely riveting though. For the first half it was decent enough but it really did become predictable and silly and Montalbano’s actions at the end were quite daft. Overall though it was a particularly fast book to read and I did have a smile on my face for a jolly good portion of it. I did enjoy the humour and the characterisations of both the people and the place and I will seek out at least one of the earlier books in this series before making a final judgment on the canon. ( )
1 vote bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
This was great, the first one I've read by this author. I've never even heard of this famous series of Montalbano detective stories. There's even a tv series apparently. I am so out of touch.
But these are the best kind of books, the ones that you discover blind. This was bought at a used book sale for $2, as a complete unknown for me. An Italian murder mystery, in translation -- it's gotta be different than the usual North American kind so let's take a flyer, it's only two bucks. When the gamble has paid off, it is extra sweet somehow.
Although the plot is standard fare, a few mild twists and turns, good police work, dogged persistence of the "hunch", etc., the best thing I liked about it was the atmosphere. It felt like a glimpse into everyday life of Italy (not the murder of course). The attitudes toward work, police, the Mafia, and how this microcosm deals with those influences, were all fascinating. The casual descriptions of the kinds of Italian food being eaten made me hungry. There were frequent odd occasions of stripping off the clothes publicly. It happened so often in such unusual situations that it no longer felt unusual, just a bit distracting. The writing has a light touch, and is wryly humourous.
I will look for more in this series, starting first at the local used bookstores. ( )
  BCbookjunky | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrea Camilleriprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sartarelli, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He was sleeping so soundly that not even cannon-fire could have woken him.
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aka August Heat
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Book description
When a colleague extends his summer vacation, Inspector Salvo Montalbano is forced to stay in Vigàta and endure the August heat. Montalbano’s long-suffering girlfriend, Livia, joins him with a friend - husband and young son in tow - to keep her company during these dog days of summer. But when the boy suddenly disappears into a narrow shaft hidden under the family’s beach rental, Montalbano, in pursuit of the child, uncovers something terribly sinister. As the inspector spends the summer trying to solve this perplexing case, Livia refuses to answer his calls - and Montalbano is left to take a plunge that will affect the rest of his life.
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"When a colleague extends his summer vacation, Inspector Salvo Montalbano is forced to stay in Vigata and endure the August heat. Montalbano's long-suffering girlfriend, Livia, joins him with a friend - husband and young son in tow - to keep her company during these dog days of summer. But when the boy suddenly disappears into a narrow shaft hidden under the family's beach rental, Montalbano, in pursuit of the child, uncovers something terribly sinister. As the inspector spends the summer trying to solve this perplexing case, Livia refuses to answer his calls, leaving Montalbano to take a plunge that will affect the rest of his life." "Fans of the Sicilian inspector as well as readers new to this increasingly popular series will enjoy following the melancholy but unflinchingly moral Montalbano as he undertakes one of the most shocking investigations of his career."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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