Photo of Marsala, Sicily, by debsilver used under a Creative Commons license.
Andrea Camilleri, The Shape of Water (Penguin, 2005).
THS pal Stacy recommends the Inspector Montalbano series, of which this is the first:
I found these books irresistible, engaging and downright witty. These books evoke a modern day Sicily, but with a certain nostalgia for days gone by. The smells, colors and landscapes of Sicily come to life as Inspector Montalbano leads us down the back streets of [the fictional town of] Vigata whilst searching for clues to solve his cases or in his seemingly endless quest to partake of the perfect meal.
At once funny and clever, Camilleri’s novels are a welcome distraction from other less intellectual contemporary mystery writers (Kellerman, J.D. Robb, et. al.). Once one dives into Camilleri’s labyrinthine Sicilian backstreets, you will be in for a treat. And you will be begging for more. One might even be tempted to learn Italian just to devour those novels which as of yet have not been translated into English….
Here is Wikipedia’s page on Camilleri. Paul Bailey writes about him in The Guardian, and Michele Parisi writes about him in Best of Sicily magazine. Frank Bruni profiled him for The New York Times. This page, from a Camilleri fan club, gives a taste of his writing. Hillary Frey (The Nation) reviews the first four books in the series. Stephen Sartarelli translated the book jacket and this review by Carlo Vennarucci. Here are more reviews from Maxine Clarke, raidergirl3, Sue Magee, Orrin, Ayo Onatade, KarenC, Divers and Sundry, yan, adambowie, Yulian Suwanda, and Shonna Froebel.