Andrea Camilleri

17 Jul

Accolades and condolences are abundant in Italy as the famed Commissario Montalbano author, Andrea Calogero Camilleri, director and author, passed away today at age 93.

Wikipedia, Andrea Camilleri c 2010

You may recall that last year in Sicily, Len and I spent a 10-hour day touring many famous Montalbano filming sites throughout Sicily. We have read many of the books and seen all of the movies, in Italian with English subtitles. Until today, I had always wondered why it was fairly easy for me to understand them, given what I’ve always heard about the Sicilian dialect. But now I know. According to John Hooper’s Obituary in The Guardian, “they are written in a language of the author’s creation: a blend of standard Italian with Sicilian dialect.”

And although he had been a successful theatre director, TV producer, playwright and novelist, Camilleri didn’t start publishing his detective series until nearly 70 years of age. Amazingly, he sold more than 10 million books which were translated into 30+ languages, with the adapted tv series running in over 20 countries. 

According to Mark Lawson of The Guardian: “[Camilleri] considered it his duty to speak out against the dark politics by which his country was often seduced, regularly appearing as a pundit on Italian TV shows where he was torrentially opinionated, intelligent and witty.”

Also, according to Lawson, (a spoiler alert): “There will be at least one more novel. In our interview, he told me that – as Agatha Christie did with Hercule Poirot in Curtain – he had deposited with his publisher Riccardino, a final novel in which Montalbano is “finished off” that was to only be published posthumously. It should be a fitting epitaph to one of the latest, but greatest, careers in crime writing.”

Finally, some thoughts from Luca Zingaretti, the actor who brought Commissario Montalbano to the screen, on his working with Andrea Camilleri:

I learned that the value of people has nothing to do with what they earn, with the positions they hold, with titles that adorn their surname: they are evaluated for what they are.”

“Now you leave and leave me with an unbridgeable sense of emptiness, but I know that every time I say, even alone, in my head, “Montalbano I am!”, wherever you have gone you smile slyly, perhaps smoking your cigarette and winking at me as a sign of understanding, like the last time we met in Syracuse. Goodbye master and friend, let the earth be light to you!
Your Luca

And so Camilleri leaves us, but not without a legacy that will last long beyond his years.


If interested, my blog about our Montalbano tour:



9 Responses to “Andrea Camilleri”

  1. Mari Louise De Sole July 17, 2019 at 7:16 PM #

    What a wonderful man–sad news indeed. I remember seeing a documentary on Andrea as he was interviewed by a lovely Italian journalist. He was kind, funny, wise, and sad (he was writing the last Montalbano book). Thank you Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly July 17, 2019 at 10:20 PM #

      Thanks for writing. And although it is sad news, he certainly had a long and fulfilling life. I enjoyed the documentary as well.


  2. jeanfromcalifornia July 17, 2019 at 10:16 PM #

    Yes, I was sad to hear this today. But I refuse to read the last book on Montalbano because I want Montalbano in my mind to last forever and by not accepting his end I also will be refusing to accept the end of Camilleri. To me Camilleri will be eternally living in Rome and dreaming of Sicily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly July 18, 2019 at 9:31 AM #

      Interesting perspective. Mine is a bit different. I think it was rather clever of him to have his final book published posthumously and be the end of Montalbano. That way, no one can attempt to publish a sequel. His Montalbano remains only his work forever.


      • jeanfromcalifornia July 18, 2019 at 7:04 PM #

        As a Sherlock Holmes fan I remember Conan Doyle trying to kill him off. After all, Holmes was in short stories for magazines and Doyle looked down on them when he wrote his serious books like The White Company.
        But everyone loved Holmes and weren’t that crazy about Doyle’s serious books so despite the fact he had Holmes fall over a waterfall in a death struggle with the villain Moriarty in his attempt to kill him off, he was forced to bring him back again although he did it less enthusiastically so that a reviewer noted “Holmes may not have died going over the Reichenbach falls but he was never the same man afterward.”

        Never say never.

        Liked by 1 person

      • blogginginitaly July 20, 2019 at 4:18 PM #

        You are too funny!


  3. Royce Larsen July 18, 2019 at 8:36 AM #

    My only knowledge and appreciation of this individual comes fromyour blogs. Thank you.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. stellalucentellc July 18, 2019 at 9:28 PM #

    Your blog is a beautiful tribute to a great man. He will be missed. BTW, I’ve also watch the Montalbano series through, and am on my second round. I’ve learned so much Italian and felt such a part of my family’s hometown of Ragusa through his series. I’m sure I will read his last book… eventually!

    Liked by 1 person

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