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Authors: Andrea Camilleri

The Potter's Field

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Table of Contents
 
 
Praise for Andrea Camilleri and the Montalbano Series
“There's a deliciously playful quality to the mysteries Andrea Camilleri writes about a lusty Sicilian police detective named Salvo Montalbano.”
—
The New York Times Book Review
 
“The books are full of sharp, precise characterizations and with subplots that make Montalbano endearingly human.... Like the antipasti that Montalbano contentedly consumes, the stories are light and easily consumed, leaving one eager for the next course.”
—
New York Journal of Books
 
“This series is distinguished by Camilleri's remarkable feel for tragicomedy, expertly mixing light and dark in the course of producing novels that are both comforting and disturbing.”
—
Booklist
 
“The novels of Andrea Camilleri breathe out the sense of place, the sense of humor, and the sense of despair that fills the air of Sicily.”
—Donna Leon
 
“Hailing from the land of Umberto Eco and La Cosa Nostra, Montalbano can discuss a pointy-headed book like
Western Attitudes Towards Death
as unflinchingly as he can pore over crime-scene snuff photos. He throws together an extemporaneous lunch . . . as gracefully as he dodges advances from attractive women.”
—
Los Angeles Times
 
“In Sicily, where people do things as they please, Inspector Montalbano is a bona fide folk hero.”
—
The New York Times Book Review
 
“Sublime and darkly humorous . . . Camilleri balances his hero's personal and professional challenges perfectly and leaves the reader eager for more.”
—
Publishers Weekly
(starred review)
 
“Camilleri is as crafty and charming a writer as his protagonist is an investigator.”
—
The Washington Post
 
“Montalbano is a delightful creation, an honest man on Sicily's mean streets.”
—
USA Today
 
“Camilleri can do a character's whole backstory in half a paragraph.”
—
The New Yorker
 
“The humor and humanity of Montalbano make him an equally winning lead character.”
—
Publishers Weekly
 
“Camilleri's sure hand with tragicomedy remains the distinguishing feature of this always entertaining series.”
—
Booklist
Also by Andrea Camilleri
The Shape of Water
 
The Terra-Cotta Dog
 
The Snack Thief
 
Voice of the Violin
 
Excursion to Tindari
 
The Smell of the Night
 
Rounding the Mark
 
The Patience of the Spider
 
The Paper Moon
 
August Heat
 
The Wings of the Sphinx
 
The Track of Sand
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.
A PENGUIN MYSTERY
THE POTTER'S FIELD
Andrea Camilleri is the author of many books, including his Montalbano series, which has been adapted for Italian television and translated into nine languages. He lives in Rome.
 
Stephen Sartarelli is an award-winning translator and the author of three books of poetry.
PENGUIN BOOKS
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
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(a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
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Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
First published in Penguin Books 2011
 
 
Copyright © Sellerio Editore, 2008
Translation copyright © Stephen Sartarelli, 2011
All rights reserved
 
Originally published in Italian as
Il campo del vasaio
by Sellerio Editore, Palermo.
 
Publisher's Note This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Camilleri, Andrea.
[Campo del vasaio. English]
The potter's field / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
p. cm.
“A Penguin Mystery.”
ISBN : 978-1-101-55261-2
I. Sartarelli, Stephen, 1954- II. Title.
PQ4835.A3894C3513 2011
853'.914—dc23
 
 
 
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1
He was awakened by a loud, insistent knocking at the door. A frantic knocking, with hands and feet but, curiously, no ringing of the doorbell. He looked over at the window. No dawn light filtered through the closed shutter; outside was still total darkness. Or, rather, every so often a treacherous flash lit up the window, freezing the room, followed by a thunderclap that shook the windowpanes. The storm that had started the day before was raging with greater fury than ever. Strangely, however, the surging sea was silent, though it must have eaten up the beach all the way to the veranda. He groped around on the bedside table, hand searching for the base of the small lamp. He pressed the button, clicking it twice, but the light didn't come on. Had the bulb burned out, or was there no electricity? He got up out of bed, a cold shiver running down his spine. Through the shutter slats came not only flashes of lightning, but blades of cold wind. The main light switch was also not working. Maybe the storm had knocked out the power.
The knocking continued. Amidst the pandemonium, he thought he heard a voice cry out, as if in distress.
“I'm coming! I'm coming!” he shouted.
Since he had been sleeping naked, he looked around for something to cover himself, but found nothing. He was sure he had left his trousers on the chair at the foot of the bed. Perhaps they had slid to the floor. But he had no time to waste. He ran to the front door.
“Who is it?” he asked before opening.
“Bonetti-Alderighi. Open up, hurry!”
He balked, utterly confused. The commissioner? What the hell was going on? Was this some kind of stupid joke?
“Just a minute.”
He ran to get the flashlight he kept in the kitchen-table drawer, switched it on, and opened the door. He could only gawk, speechless, at the rain-drenched commissioner standing before him. Bonetti was wearing a black, rumpled hat and a raincoat with a shredded left sleeve.
“Let me in,” he said.
Montalbano stepped aside and his boss came in. The inspector followed him mechanically, as if sleepwalking, forgetting to close the door, which started banging in the wind. Reaching the first chair at hand, the commissioner did not so much sit down as collapse in it. Before Montalbano's astonished eyes, he buried his face in his hands and started crying.
The questions in the inspector's mind began to accelerate like a jet plane before takeoff, arising and vanishing too fast for him to catch hold of even one that was clear and precise. He couldn't even open his mouth.
“Could you hide me here at your house?” the commissioner asked him anxiously.
Hide him? Why on earth would the commissioner need to hide? Was he a fugitive from justice? What had he done? Who was looking for him?
“I don't . . . understand . . .”
Bonetti-Alderighi looked at him in disbelief.
“What, Montalbano, do you mean you haven't heard?”
“No, I haven't.”
“The Mafia took power tonight!”
“What are you saying?!”
“Well, how else did you expect our wretched country to end up? A little change in the law here, a little change there, and here we are. Could I please have a glass of water?”
“Yes . . . of course.”
He quickly realized the commissioner wasn't quite right in the head. Perhaps he'd had a car accident and was now raving from the shock. The best thing was to call Montelusa Central Police. Or maybe it was better to call a doctor at once. Meanwhile, however, he mustn't let the poor man suspect anything. So, for the moment, at least, he had to humor Bonetti-Alderighi.
The inspector went into the kitchen and instinctively flipped the light switch. And the light came on. He filled a glass, turned to go back, and froze in the doorway, paralyzed. He was a statue, the kind they make nowadays, which could have been called
Naked Man with Glass in Hand
.
BOOK: The Potter's Field
10.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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