Book Review: ‘A Nest Of Vipers’ Is A Fun Inspector Montalbano Mystery

Andrea Camilleri is back with his 21st novel involving Inspector Montalbano. This is my first time reading one of these stories and I have to say I really enjoyed it. The Inspector is everything you would expect his name to be. He’s smart, cranky, abrupt and funny at times. And he likes to eat fine Italian food (the story is set in Italy). In A Nest Of Vipers (Penguin Book Original; in stores Tuesday, August 1), he has to solve the case of a man murdered twice.

Cosimo Barletta is found dead in his house by his son who came to visit him. He’s a wealthy man who’s also a womanizer. He was found dead in his kitchen while drinking his coffee. The house is sealed off and gone over. The only clues they find is a blonde hair in his bed, showing he wasn’t alone the night before and that that person should be the killer. Also found in his coffee is a white powder that is being tested. It’s a strong drug that causes paralysis and death. So Cosimo was already dead when he was shot. Not the case is really taking an unexpected turn for Inspector Montalbano, who’s heading up the case.

He interviews Cosimo’s two kids who each give stories that don’t add up. Also found on the scene are very graphic, sexual pictures with young girls. The case is getting more confusing as the days go on. No will is found as each kid has a different story as to how the estate was to be left.

On top on all this Montalbano has to deal with a homeless man living in a cave near him and his girlfriend Livia coming to visit. They have a very combative relationship. They love each other but fight a lot. Livia knows about the homeless man and becomes obsessed with helping him.

The more Montalbano and this people investigate the case, with old love letters, witness testimonies and different stories being told the more baffling it becomes. Soon he puts two and two together and finally figures out what has happened and who did what.

The Inspector Montalbano series is an Italian TV Show (need to search the web to watch this!). It really is a pleasant departure from all the crime, serial killer novels I always read. And it’s also a short story at just 256 pages. So if you something just a little different in your crime novel readings I highly suggest picking up the new Inspector Montalbano story A Nest Of Vipers.

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