In the opening pages of THE AGE OF DOUBT its hero must consider his own mortality in a rather peculiar way. He dreams that he has died and not only is he prevented from investigating his own death but his long term girlfriend is probably not going to bother going to the funeral. The reflective, sleepless night that results from this puts Salvo Montalbano in a fairly cranky mood as he drives to work the next morning but he does not get far. There is a traffic jam that starts not far from his house and he soon discovers that the night’s storm has washed out the road. He then rescues a young woman whose car is teetering on the edge of the washed away portion of road and ends up spending the next few hours with her. She is planning to meet her Aunt who sails a yacht called the Vanna which is due into the town’s port as soon as the wild weather abates. However, when the yacht does finally berth it is carrying a dead body found floating in a dingy near the port and the young woman who has been waiting all day for disappears without a trace.
Like its predecessors THE AGE OF DOUBT offers a blend of mild mystery, droll observations, a gorgeous setting and an occasional surreal moment. And for that reason it’s difficult to think of something intelligent to say that I haven’t said in my reviews of four previous novels in the series. The few things I can think of relate to the little hidden gems that I wouldn’t want to spoil for other readers.
So all I will say is that it is an enjoyable outing though, for me, not the best of the series as a good deal of it is taken up with Montalbano’s infatuation with a Lieutenant who works at the Port. Although it is very realistic that the older he gets the younger Montalbano’s love interests seem to be I’m not particularly enamoured of reading about this particular behaviour trait. But even so the book still has many delightful moments (plus a more melodramatic ending than is normally the case) and fans of the series won’t want to miss it.
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My rating 3/5
Translator Stephen Sartarelli
Publisher Penguin [this translation 2012, original edition 2009]
Length 273 pages
Book Series #14 in the Inspector Montalbano series.
Source borrowed from the library