The first three novels in Andrea Camilleri's bestselling Inspector Montalbano series. his three-book compilation features: The Shape of Water: On a waste ground in Vigata, the Sicilian town's dark underbelly flourishes: drug dealers and prostitutes plying their trade. But when the body of Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, is discovered there, Inspector Montalbano must investigate; and despite pressure from his commissioner, a local judge and bishop - he is determined to unearth the truth.... The Terracotta Dog: When two lovers, dead for over fifty years, are discovered in a mountain cave watched over by a life-size terracotta dog, Inspector Montalbano's investigation will take him on a journey through Sicily's past and into a family's dark heart amid the horrors of World War II. The Snack Thief: When an elderly man is stabbed to death in an elevator and a crewman on an Italian fishing trawler is machine-gunned by a Tunisian patrol boat off Sicily's coast, only Inspector Montalbano suspects a link between the two incidents ...
The first in the series about Sicilian Police Inspector Montalbano, in which a real estate developer and aspiring politician is found dead in his car under what looks like lascivious circumstances, and it is up to Montabano and his team to sort out the (convoluted) truth. This was an experiment by the author to see if he could write a novel straight from the beginning to the end (as his other novels always ended up much differently structured than he had planned) and if it was possible to set a police procedural in Sicily. Well, the experiment was a success; this is a very solid mystery with interesting characters in an unusual locale, but it's not as amazing a novel as its reputation would leave a reader to believe. Montalbano has developed into a very popular character, both in the books and in a TV series, so I am quite certain that later installments are closer to outstanding than this one; I will continue to read the series.
The inspector is not everyone's cup of tea. He's irascible, volatile, and occasionally takes matters into his own hands. Dodging promotion and avoiding publicity, Montalbano must contend with aging Mafiosi, ancient philandering husbands, and the odd but troubled romantic triangle.
If you enjoy mysteries that transport you to a new place, go to Sicily with Andrea Camilleri.