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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crime Fiction Sicilian -Style

I'm not a huge crime fiction fan (especially the grisly contemporary ones) however once in a while I stumble across a series I really like. At the moment I am a bit obsessed with Inspector Montalbano of the Sicilian local police. Descibed as a cross between 'Columbo and Chandler's Philip Marlowe', Montalbano is a slightly eccentric, hard-bitten cop who only knows one way to do things - his way. He is also quite the gourmand and the books are full of descriptions of the food made by his housekeeper and the food that he eats while out on a case. There is lots of freshly grilled fish with lemon, olive oil and parsley but there are also things like his favourite snack 'calia e simenza' (roasted chickpeas and salted pumpkin seeds) and lemon ice made from 1 cup of lemon juice, two cups of sugar and four cups of cold water...mmm!

It was Tom's Mum who introduced me to the Inspector and she also introduced me to Iain Pears great series starring English art historian Jonathan Argyll and his girlfriend Flavia di Stefano of Rome's Art Theft Squad. Maisie Dobbs I found on my own. Maisie was a nurse during the First World War and later becomes a psychologist and private investigator. I just love the tone and atmosphere of these books - so melancholy.


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