Inspector Montalbano: The Shape Of Water, Collection 1 episode 3

The Shape of Water book coverThe Shape of Water is Episode 3 of the TV series but the first in the Commisario Montalbano books.

The episode starts with a blond woman being dropped off at Mannara, which is a red-light area of Vigata. She walks off and is picked up immediately as if someone was expecting her.

The following morning two street cleaners, Pino and Saro, are clearing the area of rubbish. Saro, whose son is sick, finds and pockets a gold necklace. Pino finds the dead body of Luparello, an engineer of some standing in the car, and the men debate ringing Cusumamo (the deputy leader of a political party) and Luparello’s puppet . Instead, they ring someone called Rizzo, who they believe is Luparello’s best friend. He cuts them dead, telling them to do their duty

It turns out that Luparello had just been elected provincial secretary having kept himself in the background of politics for years.  Rizzo is a lawyer and Luparello’s connection to the mafia. None of the papers or the TV news reports want to say how he was found and the autopsy says he died of natural causes.

Salvo meets Gege, a pimp and one of his informers – they went to school together only to take different routes in life. It’s Gege’s girls who work Mannara, and  the prostitute who saw the girl get out thought she didn’t seem the Mannara type.

Salvo searches Pino’s room, finds notes of the conversation had with Rizzo then visits Saro who he gets to admit he has the necklace. Salvo confiscates the necklace, giving a receipt dated 2 days previously so that Saro can claim the “finder’s fee” – enough to get the child to different doctors.  Salvo sends it to forensics in such a way that gossip would spread fast.

Pino comes to see Salvo – he had written the conversation down because as an amateur actor, the conversation didn’t make sense – Rizzo wasn’t interested in how or where he was found (as if he already knew), only why HE was being called.montalbano-2

Cusumamo gets elected the provincial secretary and Rizzo hears Salvo has the necklace. Dinner with Nicolo makes Salvo realise there is a reason the press are not talking about how he was found…the layer of silence will damage his reputation rather than rescue it.  Rizzo says the necklace belongs to the son of Cusumamo and his wife, a Swedish woman who we find out later to be Ingrid, the 6foot tall blonde rally driver.

Salvo goes to see Luparello’s widow who adds something new to the mix – that her husband had affairs in a little cottage. She believes he was forced there for political reasons but he died before the full plan could take effect so they dumped him. We meet Giorgio, Luparello’s nephew, who has a form of epilepsy, and has a fit whilst Salvo is leaving, so is not in the right state to be interviewed.

Whilst at home, Salvo gets a call from his father for the first time in a year, to tell him that a couple boxes of this year’s wine will be sent over. His father sounds remote, Salvo gets depressed. The indication is that they never really had a good relationship (if you watch the corresponding The Young Montalbano series, their relationship has been strained since Salvo’s mother died).

ingridWe meet Ingrid, who admits the clothes at the cottage are hers, and that she meets someone there for sex. She later proves she could have driven down the riverbed to Mannara with no problem. Turns out that the person she meets is her father in law (Cusumamo), and she hates doing it. Seems she is being set up so that Salvo will think she killed Cusumamo.

The following morning Rizzo is found shot dead and dumped in the manner of a mafia execution.  It seems Giorgio had been out all night and is unavailable to come in to make a statement.  Salvo returns to his house to find the wine has arrived, along with a letter from his father’s business partner, which tells him that his father is sick and not expected to live long. This devastates Salvo, who cries alone.

He goes to have dinner with the commissioner, and he outlines his theory regarding how the death and set up was done, including the involvement of a guy with the nickname Marilyn in order to set up Ingrid. Of course, it’s not provable.

Salvo takes the day off and goes to see his father at the hospital, only to find he had died, alone, the night before. Salvo buries his father, again alone, as Livia doesn’t get there till the casket is being lowered to the ground. He gets his father’s watch from the business partner who is in hysterics because he’d been banned from telling Salvo just how sick his father was.  Salvo tells the team not to disturb him for a few days and that evening he and Livia have sad sex. Later, when he can’t sleep, he goes for a walk, then fills in the blanks with Livia and that Giorgio is the uncle’s lover and the killer of Rizzo.  Livia doesn’t like some of what he says, accuses him of thinking he’s a god, but he’s a second-rate one at that.

Seeing Livia off at the airport (they’ve made up), he runs into Luparello’s widow and learns the fate of Giorgio – he’s died by “accidentally” driving off a cliff. Salvo visits the spot and can tell it was no accident – the way the road bends and with no skid marks, it was a deliberate move. In a rare monologue at the end, Salvo ruminates on where his life is, and comes to terms with what Livia accused him off.


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