The Terra-Cotta Dog - Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (translator),
This is the second of the Inspector Salvo Montalbano mysteries, which are set in 1990s Sicily.
300 pages may strike us time-pressed readers as too long for a police procedural, but the plot twists and brisk action justify the length. Bringing to mind Josephine Tey's A Daughter of Time (in which a convalescing cop exonerates Richard III through research), Montalbano, recovering from being shot during a meeting with an informer, works on a 50-year-old murder case.
Montalbano is hard to like: arbitrary and secretive with subordinates, abrupt with friends, thoughtless with his mistress Livia, and monstrous toward Anna who foolishly adores him. Half a dozen characters tell him what a jerk he is, but he can't help his behavior.
The translator Stephen Sartarelli has provided an excellent notes section at the end that explains background of Berlusconi-era Italian politics and society and Sicilian culture and phrases.