The Young Montalbano: An Apricot (2/6)

As I look back over ‘An Apricot’ I can’t help but admire Andrea Camilleri’s skill as a writer.  He has managed to weave a story that twists and turns, leaving you wanting more.  Certainly, of all the endings I was expecting, this was not one of them.  But lets not put the wrong end first.

Salvo’s imminent departure is what starts the story.  Livia has arrived to help pack.  On the way home from the airport, they discover an old stone wall close to a cliff edge has been knocked down.  On further investigation we find an overturned car at the bottom of the cliff with a dead woman inside.

The woman worked as a model at a local agency and had been having a relationship with one of her employers.  This had ceased some months ago, however, all was not as it seemed.  Digging deeper, they find she had an apricot stone stuck in her throat.  This is odd as she was known to be allergic to the fruit.

Now convinced of her murder, the team checks out her new lover, a photographer working at the same agency.  We learn very quickly that he is a heroin addict.  Suspicion soon flits from one suspect to another as new clues arise.  Even her neighbour is suspected.  Bit by bit the story is revealed, the agency has been shipping drugs to South America.

Finally settling on the real killer, we are dismayed to see that he has been killed too.  Worse than that, he is murdered right outside Montalbano’s house and the night before he is due to leave.  Being the dedicated detective, Salvo stays behind while Livia returns to Genoa.

Little more than two days later and he has unraveled the mess and is finally ready to leave.  Just before he goes, he decides to take one last look around town.  A lack of people is bewildering until he returns to the station.  It is there that we learn of a shocking event that persuades him to stay.

While I suspected Montalbano would continue to stay in Sicily, I had hoped to see him at work in a new venue.  However, living and working in a city like Genoa would entail a complete change in pace.  Whatever happens in the mean time, I hope I will not have to wait too long for the next series.

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