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Books 93-94: The Terracotta Dog and An Unhallowed Grave

Book 93: The Terracotta Dog (Inspector Montalbano #2).
Author: Andrea Camilleri, 1996. Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli, 2004.
Genre: Mystery. Thriller. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Paperback. 343 pages.

'The Terracotta Dog' opens with a mysterious tête-à-tête with a Mafioso, some inexplicably abandoned loot from a supermarket heist, and some dying words that lead Inspector Montalbano to a secret grotto in a mountain cave where two young lovers dead fifty years and still embracing are watched over by a life-size terracotta dog. Montalbano’s passion to solve this old crime takes him, heedless of personal danger, on a journey through the island’s past and into a family’s dark heart amid the horrors of World War II. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

I finally got around to picking up the second in this popular series of police procedurals based in Sciliy and enough time has passed between my viewing of its its TV adaptation for me to be a little fuzzy on the details of the plot. Also, as often happens there was more detail here than in its 2 hour TV film.

Again this proved a warm and quirky adventure for Inspector Montalbano and his associates that was a delight to read from start to finish. I've already ordered Book 3.

Book 94: An Unhallowed Grave (Wesley Peterson #3).
Author: Kate Ellis, 1999.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural. Archaeology.
Other Details: Paperback. 240 pages.

When the body of Pauline Brent is found hanging from a yew tree in a local graveyard, DS Wesley Peterson immediately suspects foul play. Then history provides him with a clue. Wesley's archaeologist friend, Neil Watson, has excavated a corpse at his nearby dig - a young woman who, local legend has it, had been publicly hanged from the very same tree before being buried on unhallowed ground five centuries ago. Wesley is forced to consider the possibility that the killer knows the tree's dark history. Has Pauline also been 'executed' rather than murdered - and, if so, for what crime? To catch a dangerous killer Wesley has to discover as much as he can about the victim. But Pauline appears to have been a woman with few friends, no relatives and a past she has carefully tried to hide... - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Certainly a novel that I'd class as a solid police procedural with the added twist of having the historical case that is being excavated reflecting events of the current day. It's a winning formula though I don't know if it will seem so if the series continues in the same vein. I mean after all how many digs can Wesley's friend Neil undertake locally that just happen to reflect elements of a modern murder case? We shall see as I am quite addicted now.

I think also I'm less bothered if I read these in order as apart from a little movement in Wesley's rather fraught relationship with his wife Pam there isn't that much that might spoil if I jump ahead a book due to its unavailability in the library system as Ellis doesn't tend to make references to the outcome of earlier cases.
Tags: crime fiction, murder mystery, police drama, translation
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