Cover image for A nest of vipers
A nest of vipers
Uniform Title:
Covo di vipere. English
Center Point Large Print edition.
Physical Description:
288 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Originally published: New York, New York : Penguin Books, 2017.
Local Subject:
"Montalbano investigates the death of the wealthy Cosimo Barletta in a case that involves a ring of mistresses and family secrets."--


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available

On Order



Inspector Montalbano enjoys simple pleasures: delicious food, walks along the water, the occasional smoke -- yet these are just the backdrop to his duties as a detective.

Author Notes

Andrea Camilleri lives in Italy.

Andrea Camilleri was born in Porto Empedocle, Sicily on September 6, 1925. He began his studies at Faculty of Literature in 1944 but never finished. He started to publish poems and short stories. He studied stage and film direction at the Silvio D'Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts from 1948 to 1950 and soon began work as a director and screen writer. Andrea Camilleri worked on several TV productions such as Inspector Maigret wirh Gino Cervi. In 1971 he returned to the Academy of Dramatic Arts holding the chair of Movie Direction and keeping it for 20 years. In 1978 he wrote his first novel - The Way Things Go which was followed by A Thread of Smoke in 1980. In 1992 he published The Hunting Season which turned out to be a best seller. In 1994 Andrea Camilleri published the first in a long series of novels - The Shape of Water which features the character Inspector Montalbano - a ficticious Sicilian detective in the police force of Vigata, an imaginary Sicilian town. The TV adaption of this book took off in popularity and Andrea Camilleri's home town was renamed Porto Empedocle Vigata. In 1998 he won the Nino Mortoglio International Book Award. He received an honorary degree from the University of Pisa in 2005.

Camilleri has worked as a television and theater director, as well as a screenwriter. In 1978 he wrote his first novel, Il Corso delle Cose. The Montalbano series, featuring the Sicilian detective Inspector Montalbano, is Camilleri's most famous work of fiction, and it has been adapted into a television series.

Camilleri had written a few historical novels when, in 1994, he wrote The Shape of Water, the first book starring a Sicilian detective based in the fictional town of Vigata. Camilleri won the Nino Martoglio International Book Award in 1998. He is considered to be one of Italy's greatest contemporary writers.

Andrea Camilleri passed away on July 17, 2019 at the age of 93. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

That prosperous accountant Cosimo Barletta-the initial murder victim in bestseller Camilleri's entertaining 21st mystery featuring Sicily's Insp. Salvo Montalbano (after 2016's A Voice in the Night)-was both shot and poisoned is only one of the troubling wrinkles in a case that pulls Montalbano in a little deeper than he expected. Revelations of Barletta's ugly techniques for his womanizing, a trove of sleazy photographs of his conquests, a slew of business enemies, and two scheming adult children make for a long list of suspects, but long experience steers Montalbano to an especially upsetting solution in which Barletta is not the only victim. There are deft touches that make the inspector a winning lead, from his argumentative love life and his fixation with good food to his bemused observations on Sicilian speech and culture. Camilleri blends a locked-room mystery with a vivid sense of setting and an appealing cast of supporting characters. Agent: Donatella Barbieri, Agenzia Letteraria Internazionale (Italy). (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

When you're a loan shark with an open liking for younger women, the occasional death threat maybe isn't so alarming.After finding his father dead, Arturo Barletta is quick to open up about the late Cosimo Barletta's collection of enemies as well as young lovers. Which, to Inspector Montalbano's dismay, means that the list of potential murderers is a long one. Hacking away at that list should be top priority, but a man is only human, and distractions pile up for Montalbano: Cosimo's beautiful daughter, Giovanna, seems intent on gaining his full attention during the investigation, and, at home, a well-spoken vagabond with a mysterious past has made his acquaintance. Montalbano also makes the mistake of mentioning this man to his long-term partner, Livia, who insists on regular updates. A thorough search of Cosimo's home reveals that he enjoyed keeping records of death threats made against him as well as X-rated photographs of the women he slept with. When blonde hairs are found in Cosimo's bed, Montalbano hopes to use the photographs to find a matchand that leads him to Stella Lasorella. Of course, she insists she wasn't there the night of the murder. She also paints a very disturbing picture of her ex-loverone of manipulation, blackmail, and worse. Cosimo might have felt rich and powerful enough to stay in control, but the details of his murder, as well as one intimate set of letters, suggest he had a weakness. The investigation is not without its humorous momentsthe photographs have an overwhelming effect on the poor men who must study themwhich are classic for Camilleri (The Revolution of the Moon, 2017, etc.), but it also brings out a vulnerable side to our steadfast investigator. The mind games Montalbano plays with Giovanna will keep the pages turning, and as the more disturbing layers of the case are revealed, even Montalbano is moved to introspection: "His was loneliness crowded by all his colleagues in the police department, but it was still loneliness." Expect the ending to make you squirm, though you have to admire Camilleri's ability to disarm horror with his particular charm; the town of Vigta quietly soldiers on. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

This twenty-first Inspector Montalbano novel to appear in the U.S. falls squarely into the series' comfort zone: a tantalizing murder, not at all what it seems; a plethora of romantic issues for the beleaguered Montalbano to sort, most, but never all, involving the fiery Livia; plenty of food and drink to quiet the raging beast within the Sicilian inspector's breast; and, sneaking in between meals, a somber reminder of the melancholy nature of life and love. This time the death of a wealthy widower opens a Pandora's box of extortion and abuse. As always, Camilleri's ability to make subtle changes in tone, from light to dark, continues to define this perennially popular series.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2017 Booklist