The Track of Sand
A Salvatore Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri
Review: Inspector Salvatore Montalbano discovers a dead horse on the beach outside his Sicilian home, brutally beaten to death, only to have it disappear before the authorities can recover the body, in The Track of Sand, the 12th mystery in this series by Andrea Camilleri (originally published in Italian in 2007 under the title La Pista di Sabbia).
The identity of the horse is tentatively established when Rachele Esterman, a wealthy equestrian, reports her horse, which has been stabled at the estate of Saverio Lo Duca, is missing. Soon thereafter Lo Duca also reports a horse of his own missing. But while Rachele's horse is worth millions, Lo Duca's horse is dying and may have had only months to live. Montalbano can't help but believe the thefts are connected, but wonders why someone would go to the trouble of taking both a valuable horse and a worthless one. And then there are the mysterious break-ins at his home, during the first of which nothing was disturbed and only a sentimental pocket watch was taken — that was returned during the second one at which time the burglars ransacked the house. There must be a common thread to all these events, but Montalbano continues to hit dead ends in his investigation of each.
The author infuses The Track of Sand with a lot of local color and interesting characters. The rapidly paced narrative generally stays true to Montalbano's investigative path, with few distractions — though those that do happen are typically entertaining, whether they involve a woman he's attracted to or a meal that momentarily takes priority over everything else. The mystery itself isn't too demanding; most readers will have figured out why the two horses were taken long before Montalbano does, but the reasons behind the break-ins at his home are related to an easily overlooked clue. This relatively short, enjoyable book will certainly delight fans of the series, and have new readers seeking out previous titles.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Track of Sand for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Track of Sand: Sicily, Italy
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The Track of Sand by Andrea Camilleri — A Salvatore Montalbano Mystery
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 2010
List Price: $14.00