My sister (the one who doesn’t read science-fiction) recommended Camilleri as better than Donna Leon, funnier, very Sicilian (“only in Sicily” is what you think while reading these I think she said).
And she’s right, they are funny, and much more innately Italian (they wouldn’t agree, they’d say Sicilian) than anything of Leon’s. Inspector Montalbano is a likeable character despite being a bit of an annoying slacker who cares most about good food and long swims. The Terracotta Dog is about the police finding a cave with the corpses of a young couple .They have lain for decades waiting to be found, and around them are some curious objects, among them a terracotta dog, stolen from a village Nativity scene. August Heat is also about the discovery of a hidden chamber (this time an underground room) with a long-dead corpse. I’ll have to read one more of Camilleri’s to find out if there are any other ways of finding corpses.
My sister and her family were in Sicily for a week for their holidays (a holiday they can’t have enjoyed as much as the two weeks they spent in Sweden this summer, surely – I miss them already!) and according to her they all seem quite as mad as the books suggest over there. It would be fun to go sometime.