Montalbano author Camilleri dies, aged 93

Montalbano author Camilleri dies, aged 93

Andrea Camilleri, author of the Inspector Montalbano series, has died at the age of 93.

The Sicilian crime writer had been admitted to a hospital in Rome last month after suffering a cardiac arrest and died this morning (17th July).

Camilleri wrote more than 100 books but only started to find success after publishing first Montalbano novel The Shape of Water (Picador) in 1994 when he was aged 69. The series proved to be enduring bestsellers in Italy, have been translated into 32 languages and adapted into a hugely popular television series. His most recent book, Alcyon’s Cook, the 26th in the series, was published in Italy in May.

The writer has sold 657,640 books in the UK, for £4.83m, through Nielsen. However, that is dwarfed by sales in Italy where his post-1998 volume total is 8.2 million books. His biggest seller there was 2007’s La Sabbia di Pista (The Track of Sand) with 268,239 copies sold.

Mantle's Maria Rejt, Camilleri’s UK editor, told The Bookseller: “It is with great, great sadness that I heard of the passing of Andrea Camilleri earlier today. I have published the English translations of his novels for seventeen years now and, throughout that time, his passion for social justice and the people of Sicily — which shines through in everything he writes — has never wavered.

"The millions of readers he has gained over the world are a testament to the universality of his characters, principles and literary genius. The legacy he leaves us is beyond measure.”  

He also wrote the series’ final book in 2006, which is with his Italian publisher and locked in a Palermo safe.

In later life, Camilleri lost his sight, but he said in 2017 it made his other senses “come back to life”, the BBC reported.

He said: "They have come to the rescue. My memory has improved, and I remember more things than before with great lucidity, and I still write."