…you can answer the repeated question, “What country was it…” with — well, not the U.S.A. actually. But with the MAGA-GOP branch of our country? Yes.
In recent years, perhaps because of his increasing age, he was less and less able to control the disdain, and the subsequent feeling of rebellion, aroused in him by the more or less open support that a certain political formation, through the involvement of certain members of Parliament and senators, was always ready to provide the Mafia. And now they were even starting to pass a number of laws that hadn’t the slightest thing to do with the law. What country was it where a minister had once said, while in office, that one had to learn to live with the Mafia? What country was it where a senator, convicted for first-degree collusion with the Mafia, had recycled himself and been reelected? What country was it where a regional deputy, convicted for aiding and abetting mafiosi, had risen to the rank of senator? What country was it where a guy who’d been minister and prime minister a great many times had been found definitively guilty of the crime of collusion with the Mafia, and yet continued to enjoy the status of senator for life?
The mere fact that these people never resigned of their own accord showed what sort of stuff they were made of.
–From Andrea Camilleri’s A Voice in the Night.
Camilleri is an astonishingly wonderful writer who combines wit, comedy, mystery and gory violence. Setting his stories in Sicilian coastal towns, Camilleri created the lead character of Inspector Salvo Montalbano, whose thoughts are recorded in the above paragraphs.
The series of Montalbano novels Camilleri has written are a new personal addiction for me. My friend Sue sent a pile of ’em from LA and I’ve been delighted ever since.
I knew of the novels because my streaming service, MhZ, has all 37 episodes of the Montalbano TV series, with a cast perfectly matched to the Camilleri-created characters. I’ve seen the full series at least a couple of times.
And I’ve taken unto myself what seems to be a private benediction: a couple of times in the novels, Camilleri has Montalbano reading Simenon and Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö’s novels which introduced Swedish noir to readers like me, devoted to fictional police procedurals. (Montalbano even refers to Martin Beck, the fictional Swedish police inspector, as his “colleague.”)
I didn’t mean to write all that but anyway, those two paragraphs up there are another instance of how books I’m reading are passing secret messages to me.
P.S. A recurrent theme for Camilleri is telling us what Montalbano is eating for lunch and dinner, and once he hands us a sort of recipe Montalbano’s housekeeper has made on a very hot day.
It’s so simple it’s stupid and I’m trying it right now. Potatoes and onions boiled together (I’m using broth, not sure whether Adelina uses it) in broth, until they are so soft you can mash them together.
That’s it, except to note Montalbano dresses this dish with salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil.
I’ll let you know how it comes out.