Penguin Books, 2005
originally published as L'odore della notte, 2001
translated by Stephen Sartarelli
"Did you say the smell of the night?"
"Yes. The night changes smells, depending on the hour."
The Smell of the Night offers its readers a solid mystery, a great investigation and one of the most impressive endings of this series so far. As far as the whodunit is concerned, I had absolutely no clue up until the final denouement, which is always a great thing. But as usual, it is the author's finely-honed sense of place that steals the show, along with his devotion to continuing character development, and his introduction of some new and rather quirky people that help Montalbano throughout the case. And let's not forget the food.
As I continue through this series, it's getting a bit difficult to find new things to say about these books, because although some may be a bit better than others, I'm finding that I am loving them all. All the things that make one book good are continued throughout the rest. Perhaps some of the crimes and their solutions aren't as good in one or two of these books as they are in others, but I've come to realize that I'm really reading them at this point just to see what's going to happen next with Montalbano and his colleagues at the Vigata police station. When all is said and done, and I move on to another author's works, I'm probably not going to remember specific crimes in Camilleri's novels, but I'll definitely remember the setting, the food and especially the crazy group of characters surrounding Montalbano.
As with every previous book, I definitely recommend this one, and since I tend to be a series-reading purist, I'd say start with the first book, The Shape of Water and make your way forward so you don't miss anything.
crime fiction from Italy