La concessione del telefono (in Swedish published as Telefonkoncessionen 2004 by Fischer & Co) is a police novel turned inside-out. It is set in the 19th century, the real crimes are committed in the end, no justice is made by the legal authorities, and the honest policemen are punished by dispatchment to Sardinia. This book is the logical continuation of the Sicilian crime story authorship of Andrea Camilleri, with the books about inspector Montalbano, which in both form and content have tended to expand beyond the frames of the ordinary crime story, in particular the short stories. Details about sex and food, and even an obsession with telephones, like in all Montalbano novels, can be normal ingredients in crime stories. In the short stories, however, Camilleri in addition playes with the form by writing in the form of letters, or making a meta-story where the protagonist refuses to participate in the plot.
La concessione del telefono, finally, takes the form experiment some steps further, and is not even categorized by the editorial and the libraries as a crime novel. On the other hand it abounds with crimes and various kinds of policemen. Who cares anyway, as long as you can enjoy good reading about people on islands.
After intensive reading of Camilleri, I am happy to find that a mini-series with Montalbano will be sent in Swedish public service SVT1 – on Mondays in July.