Inspector Montalbano author Andrea Camilleri dies at age 93

Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian author behind the popular Inspector Montalbano television series, has died at the age of 93

Andrea Camilleri
Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian author behind the popular Inspector Montalbano television series, has died at the age of 93.

Camilleri, he had been admitted to a hospital in Rome last month after a cardiac arrest.

The crime writer was best-known for his detective books starring Inspector Salvo Montalbano based in the fictional Sicilian town of Vigàta.

The adapted Rai TV series was loved in Italy and became popular in the UK, US, France, Spain, Germany and Australia.

Camilleri lost his sight in recent years but said in 2017 it had allowed him to picture things more clearly.

"I am blind, but losing my sight made all my other senses come back to life," he said during an interview. "They have come to the rescue. My memory has improved, and I remember more things than before with great lucidity, and I still write."

Camilleri and Inspector Montalbano changed people's minds about Sicily.

Together, over a period of 25 years, they transformed a grim landscape of mobsters and mafia violence to a light-hearted, humorous, food-focused near-paradise of an imaginary town called Vigàta.

Camilleri wrote more than 100 books. His stories were fiction but influenced by current affairs or the result of hours of scouring the archives.

The Montalbano novels, each of them published in a 180-page format, 18 chapters of 10 pages, have achieved worldwide sales of 25 million and have been translated into 120 languages.

His most recent, Alcyon's Cook, was published in May in Italy and quickly became a bestseller.

Camilleri's final book in the series, entitled Riccardino and written in 2006, remains with his publisher, locked in a cabinet, in Palermo under an agreement that it is to be printed at a later date. 

The writer's fame was amplified when his stories were adapted for television: his 24 novels and 10 short stories were made into 34 episodes and distributed in some 60 countries to date.

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