Camilleri was born and raised in Sicily and writes in a mixture of Italian and Sicilian. His novels are populated with a host of characters and settings, including corrupt politicians, illegal trash dumps, goat herders, the underground sex trade and, of course, the Mafia. Camilleri’s alter ego is Inspector Salvo Montalbano, the protagonist of more than a dozen novels published in English.
The Pepe Carvalho prize is named after the protagonist of the Spanish writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s detective novels. Camilleri named his protagonist after Montalbán.