THE TREASURE HUNT is the latest in the Inspector Montalbano series and opens with a dramatic set piece which sees Salvo shinning up a fireman's ladder to break into a apartment to prevent an elderly pair of devout siblings from shooting people. The apartment is quite disturbing with a roomful of crucifixes and a much repaired blow-up doll in the brother's room.
Matters then calm down in Vigata, - with the exception of a mysterious second blow-up doll being found - there is very little crime, a reason for which is suggested by Catarella and reported to Montalbano by Fazio:
“He says that the robbers, the local ones, who rob the homes of working poor or snatch women's purses, are ashamed.”
“Of their big-time colleagues. The CEOs who drive their companies to bankruptcy after making off with people's savings, the banks who are always finding a way to screw their customers, the big companies that steal public funds. Whereas they, the petty thieves who have to do with ten euros or a broken TV or a computer that doesn't work...they feel ashamed and don't feel like stealing anymore.”
But then Salvo receives an anonymous note pushed under his door, a riddle, a “treasure hunt”. More notes follow and Salvo solves them and visits nearby places. In addition Salvo's long-time friend Ingrid sends a student Salvo's way as the boy wants to see how Salvo's mind works when he solves a case, so Salvo gives him the notes. The treasure hunt keeps Salvo busy until a proper crime occurs: a young woman is kidnapped.