Well, I finally ended my reading slump (see last post) by skipping through another of Andrea Camilleri's entertaining Inspector Montalbano mysteries Rounding the mark. As far as entertainment goes, this is a rather darker mystery than many of the other Montalbano's, and is not quite as good a detective story, although Camilleri brings the apparently divergent threads together very nicely. It is however a powerful tale.

Montalbano is on the verge of resigning (this appears to be related to events in a previous novel - although as I haven't read this, I'm not entirely sure what had happened previously - one very good reason to not read this novel as a first Montalbano). He remains in the police force however largely because of events surrounding an immigrant child. The child's death will lead to the uncovering of a much larger plot to traffick children into Europe.

This is one of those books that can certainly be seen on the surface as being firmly within the popular / pulp fiction market, but actually tells you something very important about society. Camilleri's research into child trafficking produces some horrendous information, which, in some ways, is even more shocking for being introduced into mainstream fiction. Montalbano, and his police chums, are as ever engaging characters, and Camilleri draws the Sicilian background lovingly. The villains are grotesques, but all the more shocking for the weight of truth that lies behind them. For more on the problem of child trafficking within Europe see this Unicef report written the year after Rounding the mark was published.


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