Andrea Camilleri created the Inspector Montalbano (Il Commissario Montalbano) series of crime novels centered on his alter ego- Montalbano. He wrote over 100 books in Italian of which 25 Inspector Montalbano novels are translated in English. Here’s a list of all of the Inspector Montalbano books in order, including the latest “ The Safety Net” which was released in March 2020.
Inspector Montalbano Books in Order:
1. The Shape of Water (Original: La forma dell’aqua)
Chronological reading will make you understand the characters, plot lines and humor even better. The Shape of Water is the first book in the Montalbano series which I highly recommend starting from if you’re new to the Camilleri mysteries.
2. The Terracotta Dog (Original: Il cane di Terracotta)
I absolutely adored The Terracotta Dog which showcases a mystery from the time of World War II. This is a poignant story that was incidentally adapted as the first episode for the TV series (more below).
3. The Snack Thief (Original: Il ladro di Merendine)
Probably one of the most emotional plot lines discussing Montalbano and his lover Livia, The Snack Thief delves into their complex relationship. This is more than just a mystery because it also shows about the decisions couples have to take.
4. The Voice of the Violin (Original: La voce del Violino)
An extremely complicated plot, The Voice of the Violin ticks all the important points of a whodunit. It is a gruesome story but also one that will make you cry.
5. Excursion to Tindari (Original: Gita a Tindari)
Bureaucracy, Mafia, Corruption all entwined with love stories and death. What more would you want?? Excursion to Tindari will give you itchy feet for Sicily.
6. The Scent of the Night (Original: L’odore della note)
This is an excellent story of a financial scammer. Read The Scent of the Night with tons of patience and then watch the TV episode of the same name.
7. Rounding the Mark (Original: Il giro di Boa)
Imagine swimming and finding a corpse next to you!! Rounding the Mark is a well plotted book by Andrea Camilleri with an equally engaging translation that shouldn’t be missed.
8. The Patience of the Spider (Original: La pazienza del ragno)
A sumptuous read filled with great observations, The Patience of the Spider is quite intriguing because of the title. The author makes vibrant characters from Vigata come alive.
9. The Paper Moon (Original: La luna di carta)
Two mysterious women and their plot to confuse Inspector Montalbano, Paper Moon is one where Montalbano is conufsed but in the end he gets the better of them, as always!
10. August Heat (Original: La vampa d’agosto)
One of the most shocking tales in the Camilleri series, the August Heat is the 10th book. It makes you extremely emotional about Montalbano and Livia together in Sicily in August. Why August?? Because it is a time of holiday in all of Italy but here is Montalbano solving a sinister murder tale!
Did you know Andrea Camilleri was one of the greatest writers of the 21st Century whose popularity explodes by the minute. In fact he may as well be called the Sherlock Holmes of Italy!
11. The Wings of the Sphinx (Original: Le ali della sfinge)
Another intriguing book from the series, The Wings of Sphinx is partly about relationships and partly about the underworld. Camilleri makes sure to keep his readers hooked till the very end!
12. The Track of Sand (Original: La pista di sabbia)
In the Track of Sand there’s humor, beauty and delicious Sicilian food. There’s also a lot of animal abuse, so read it with a strong heart!
13. The Potter’s Field (Original: Il campo del vasaio)
The Potter’s Field is an extremely clever read. Having won the Crime Writer’s Association International Dagger Award, The Potter’s Field is probably one of my favorite Camilleri books. The author cleverly links the Potter’s field in the Gospel of Matthew.
14. The Age of Doubt (Original: L’età del dubbio)
Another fabulous read, The Age of Doubt shows Montalbano grappling with age but uncovering a smuggling crime on the side!
15. The Dance of the Seagull (Original: La danza del gabbiano)
Disappearance of corpses and policemen, this is another exciting mystery that is a favorite of Camilleri fans!
16. Treasure Hunt (Original: La caccia al Tesoro)
This is not my favorite read because it was predictable and transparent but still there looms a disturbing death in Sicily. That too of a brother sister!
17. Angelica’s Smile (Original: Il sorriso di Angelica)
Camilleri’s obsession with Literature is evident in this book again because Angelica was the Princess in the Italian poem “Orlando Furiosio”. In the book Montalbano is shown to be obsessed about her during his childhood. And the problem starts when the victim reminds him of Angelica!
18. Game of Mirrors (Original: Il Gioco degli Specchi)
Anonymous letters, a house of mirrors, salivating food… that’s Game of Mirrors. A well-researched plot by Camilleri.
19. A Beam of Light (Original: Una lama di Luce)
A clever mystery with tons of conspiracies and twists, in A Beam of Light Montalbano falling head over heels for another woman! However the story also takes one of the saddest turns.
20. A Voice in the Night (Original: Una voce di Notte)
A Voice in the Night is a murder termed as a suicide which eventually leaves Montalbano stunned. It is the 20th installment of the Montalbano series of books and a fun read because Montalbano turns 58!
21. A Nest of Vipers (Original: Un Covo di Vipere)
The story of the deceased womanizer and a muddled whodunit, A Nesp of Vipers is not my favorite but a good read!
22. The Pyramid of Mud (Original: La Piramide di Fango)
The Pyramid of Mud is another Mafia story with a very complex crime. It includes admirable storytelling backed by the faithful team of Montalbano!
23. The Overnight Kidnapper (Original: La Giostra degli Scambi)
Another of Camilleri’s stories that have interlinking plotlines, The Overnight Kidnapper will leave you wanting for more! No Spoilers!
24. The Other End of the Line (Original: L’altro capo del file)
The Other End of the Line discusses the European Immigrant crisis and a plot line that leaves Montalbano stumped. It is filled with vivid descriptions and delicious food and of course Montalbano defeats bureaucracy in this book, again!
25. The Safety Net (Original: La rete di protezione)
The Safety Net is definitely not a favorite because it lacks lucidity. What I did love was the delicious platters and an International addition to the story!!
26. The Sicilian Method (Original: Il Metodo Catalanotti)
A very clever novel and probably my favorite after The Potter’s Field, this book explores crime and theatre together.
27. The Cook of the Halcyon (Original: Il cuoco dell’Alcyon)
The Popularity of Inspector Montalbano
Andrea Camilleri’s books are not only popular in Italy but also worldwide, especially in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Picturesque backdrops, lavish food, gorgeous women, wry humor and excellent writing are some of the reasons why the Montalbano series of books are loved so much!!
In 1999, the Italian broadcasting company RAI, released the TV show “Il Commissario Montalbano”. The show lasted 15 seasons and it’s last episode aired on March 8, 2021. With an exceptional cast of Luca Zingaretti, Cesare Bocci, Angelo Russo and Peppino Mazzotta, Inspector Montalbano was a rage in Italy. To know more about the cast watch this episode of Che Tempo Che Fa!
The epsidoes were extensively shot in South Eastern Sicily in the original Italian + Sicilian dialect. For the global audience, the show is also available with English subtitles.
In 2012, RAI also produced another TV Series called “Il Giovane Montalbano” (The Young Montalbano) which is a prequel to the Inspector Montalbano TV Show. I am faithful to the older Montalbano but when I saw the first season of Young Montalbano and got completely hooked. It is equally outstanding!
Where can you watch Inspector Montalbano??
In the United Kingdom, Inspector Montalbano is broadcasted on BBCFour. Similiarly in United and Australia, it is available on MhZ and SBS, respectively. In India, Daily Motion is a good option to watch this series. I also highly recommend buying the DVDs of the Inspector Montalbano to enjoy Sicily from home!
More books in English
Apart from the 27 Montalbano books translated in English, there are other books translated in English:
Furthermore, in 2019, a TV film called “C’era una volta a Vigata` was released. It is based on Camilleri’s book “The Hunting Season”.
Montalbano Tour of Sicily
I started reading the Inspector Montalbano series of books in 2015. I also watched the show and eventually explored Sicily to do my own version of a Montalbano Tour! So in 2016, with the intention of visiting the shooting locations of the TV show, I visited the towns of Modica, Ragusa, Scicli and Punta Secca. Furthermore, I also saw Montalbano’s House in Punta Secca (in the books the house is in the fictional town of Montelusa). I was unfortunately unable to meet anyone from the cast as there was filming going on. My experience of my travels in Sicily is written for The Local Italy here.
Have you read the Inspector Montalbano series?? Share in the comments!
The Inspector sat down on a stair, fired up a cigarette, and entered an immobility contest with a lizard.Andrea camilleri
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Andrea Camilleri passed away on July 17, 2019 but his legacy lives on!