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Publisher's Summary

Montalbano's latest case begins with a mysterious tête à tête with a Mafioso, some inexplicably abandoned loot from a supermarket heist, and some dying words that lead him to an illegal arms cache in a mountain cave. There the inspector finds two young lovers, dead for 50 years and still embracing, watched over by a life-sized terra-cotta dog. Montalbano's passion to solve this old crime takes him on a journey through Sicily's past and into a family's dark heart amidst the horrors of World War II bombardment.

Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano has garnered millions of fans worldwide with his sardonic take on Sicilian life. With sly wit and a keen understanding of human nature, Montalbano is a detective whose earthiness, compassion, and imagination make him totally irresistible.

Translated by Stephen Sartarelli.

Solve another mystery with Inspector Montalbano.
Text copyright ©1996 Sellerio editore via Siracusa 50 Palermo, translation copyright ©2002 Stephen Sartarelli; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"In Sicily, where people do things as they please, Inspector Montalbano is a bona fide folk hero." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Montalbano's deadpan drollery and sharp observations refresh as much for their honesty as their wit. All he wants is a quiet corner and an uninterrupted afternoon." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A deep evocation of the Sicilian temperament, with all its complex darkness and ambiguity, is embodied in Inspector Salvo Montalbano. Camilleri writes in Sicilian dialect, and his translator has expertly captured the rhythms and nuances of that tongue in English." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

It just gets better

Another engaging story from Camilleri. This one is better than his first, and not as good as his next. Again, I was distressed that it ended so soon, but that inevitably brought to my mind a wonderful Whoopi Goldberg routine from her early stand-up days.
When a creepy old man tried to woo her into a tumble by promising that old men can last a long time, she paused for a long Whoopi moment.

To paraphrase her question to the audience:
Now why... would I want to read a baaaaaaaaad book... for a LONG TIME?!?

And indeed, I'd rather spend a short time with a book as wonderful as this than a long time with some of the mountainous drivel I've mis-chosen lately.
Highly recommended.

AUDIO: The same competent and well-fitting narrator, thank goodness.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ronald
  • Elmira, NY, United States
  • 11-16-08

Bene!

A good departure from ho-hum mysteries takes you into the life of a police inspector in Sicily picking up clues in a 50 year old homicide case. Other current murders are presented as every-day occurances carried out with Mafia vengance. Hats off to the narrator with the perfect Italian accent for the reading. This one: well worth it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A fascinating mystery with a great dectective!

This is the second of the Inspector Montalbano novels and it is much stronger than the first. You should begin with The Shape of Water, although this book can stand on its own, you will know then get the several internal references in the story much better. If you enjoyed the first novel, you will like this one even better.
As with the first novel, the characters and atmosphere of Sicily are strong. You will feel like you are there, and the narrator, Gardner, does a great job, so this book makes a wonderful commuter companion in the car or on a long trip.
The mystery itself is first-rate, and you must hang on quite a bit through the book before the meaning of the title becomes clear, but it is well worth the wait. Once again Montalbano steals the story though by now you'll be familiar with his motley crew of detectives who bring to light the wonderful sense of humor of the author, Camilleri.
Persons also with an interest in wartime (WWII) era Sicily will also find this story of interest.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Better than I thought at first

This is my first Montalbano book, after many recommendations from friends. I'm a huge fan of Grover Gardner's narration, so, while the dialog seems a bit silly and overly dramatic in places, the voice is excellent. The rhythm and style of the dialog are unlike most English-language mysteries, which I have to think is due to the book having been written in Italian and then translated.

The attitudes toward Ingrid's rape by her F-i-l are shocking, but at least Montalbano has an effective solution. And Montalbano isn't fighting active obstruction by his superior officers, as Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti has to do in that series.

I can't give this 4 stars, but it is 3+; I think I'll listen further.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

This mystery unfolds like exotic nested dolls.

Where does The Terra-Cotta Dog rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

How can one compare The Terra-Cotta Dog to Boomerang...the last book I read? TCD stands alone as a lovely and many faceted story.

Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Grover Gardner was the first person I ever heard read. (Survive the Savage Sea) His performances are consistantly good.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Wanted to? I did listen to this all in one sitting! My idea of a perfect stormy Saturday is to spend the day knitting and listening to a great book.

Any additional comments?

I wouldn't call myself a mystery lover and am relatively new to Inspector Montalbano mysteries but I am beginning to understand why he's inspired such a following.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • nina
  • Birmingham AL United States
  • 08-23-10

VERY AMUSING READ!

Love the characters and particularly love the reader--he gets the author and the characters! Wonderfully entertaining and fun listen. Recommend to anyone who has a long trip, and guarantee you will want to read more of this author! I did!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Catherine
  • Brooklyn, NY United States
  • 11-29-17

Wonderful read

I adore the Inspector Montalbano Italian TV series, but to really appreciate master storyteller Andrea Camilleri and the complexity of his characters, you have to read his books. And, if you love all things Italy, especially all things Sicilian, a must read. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Excellent story & narratio

Enjoyed the story . Plot had many twists. Keeps one guessing. Voice changes helped. Good read.

  • Overall
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Wonderful to listen to!

Loved the characters! Loved the history! The narrator brought to life. You'll love every Italian morsel of it! I promise.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Love these stories!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Probably so - the story and the characters are fun (though a bit tough to keep track of) and I thought the reader could have done a better job of distinguishing when there was a change of scene or speaker

Any additional comments?

A fun listen - and it's not that long so you can forgive some of the transitions that work better in print than when read.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful