Inspector Montalbano: The Spiders Patience, Series 3 Episode 3

The Patience of the Spider is book 8 in the series. In the book, Salvo is recovering from injuries from the previous book and having to pull himself out of self-imposed seclusion. This is different to the upbeat note on which we finished the previous TV episode Equal Time.

Please note that I watched this episode/read the book over a year ago and this post has been sitting around pretty much since then. I decided to publish in order to clear up my scheduled posts. Apologies if i have missed something as a result

Salvo is woken by Caterella who explains in his roundabout way that a girl has been reported missing. Her father went looking for her when she didn’t return home the previous evening, but he found nothing. Her moped was found by her boyfriend, off her usual route and facing the wrong way. The working theory is that it’s a kidnapping, so the team go to visit Susannah’s father Salvatore Mistretta at home. The house has a large hallway with impressive stained glass in one of the indoor doors. Rather than stand in the hallway, they go into a more private area, another large room that’s well-lit but heavily underused. There is no money to pay any ransom, with the house already mortgaged, and the mother lying upstairs dying from an unknown undefined illness.

Salvo goes to visit Tina, the girl Susanna was studying with the day before. A big fan of Salvo’s, she tries to delay him long enough to allow her friends time to come round for photos, and she lets it be known she’s single etc. Nothing really useful comes out from the interview and Salvo excuses himself as soon as possible (note to the set people: I think I’ve seen this apartment door before).

Salvo talks to Susannah’s boyfriend, who admits that they had had sex for the first time on the day she disappeared.

The Commissioner calls to say the kidnapping has been handed over to Valente as he is more experienced with kidnappings. A taped phone call is made to the house, and in talking things over with Valente…who Salvo calls Fifi….the theory is that these are not professional kidnappers and are therefore more dangerous.

Nicolò , the TV journalist, makes Salvo come to the office and plays him the kidnap tape – the same one that was played at the home. As they discuss whether to broadcast the recording, the rival station plays it anyway. It appears the tape has been sent everywhere which is contrary to what kidnappers usually do. It seems the family lost all their money about 6 years previously, Nicolo doesn’t know why.

Salvo gets a call from the Commissioner to say that Mimi has been in an accident, which means he will be out of action for a while. Salvo goes out with Galluzzo, who has some form of food poisoning. Whilst Galluzzo is on a toilet break in the bushes, Salvo looks around, sees a farm offering fresh eggs, but also thinks he’s found the girl’s moped helmet, which has been missing until now.

He visits the farm which does sell eggs, but the wife offers sex as a sideline, as a result of her husband losing his legs in an accident several years previously. She believes a car turned up one evening and turned around but she didn’t see who. Salvo says that she will be interviewed, but she must make out to be just an egg seller. The woman mentions Dr Mistretta (Susannah’s Uncle) in passing as the one who recommends pain relief, which costs money she doesn’t have.

Salvo visits Dr Antonio Peruzzo, who lives alone in a country home far too big for a single person. It was a working farm/press/grove but most is now shut up. Antonio says his Sister In Law Giulia was poisoned. Seems everything went downhill 6 years previously, where Giulia and her brother Antonio had been close after being orphaned as children. When Giulia got married she and Salvatore went to Uruguay, bringing Antonio with them. At this point of the interview, the phone goes….there’s been another ransom call. They ask for 6 billion lire, rather than euro, which gives a clue they are still thinking in old terms. Salvo wants to put pressure on Mistretta to come up with money, but Fifi is not sure…

The rest of the story comes out…Antonio Peruzzo makes money in Uruguay through shady deals, returns to Sicily, makes more shady deals, gets investigated, borrows money, doesn’t repay, companies are made bankrupt, everyone falls out. Giulia is now sick from life whilst her brother’s businesses are doing fine.

Salvo visits Mimi in hospital where he has broken ribs etc but is still walking. Salvo now thinks they didn’t kidnap Mistretta’s daughter but Peruzzo’s niece. The town’s gossips are split in two as to whether Peruzzo should made to pay of not. Photos of the girl, proving she’s still alive are sent in and Salvo has some of the photos enlarged, spotting something interesting on the wall. He also visits the Mistretta house, which looks a fabulous house, but the further in you get it is clearly in bad repair.

Mimi discharges himself from the hospital, reports that Peruzzo’s wife got recognised and attacked in the street and two lorries got set on fire the night before. Mimi thinks Peruzzo will pay up.

Salvo and Valente go visit Peruzzo’s lawyer Luna, who tells them the kidnappers rang Peruzzo 6 hours before they rang the police, to say that Peruzzo has the money but no instructions what to do next. Salvo doesn’t like the Lawyer’s use of the word “inexplicably” as he believes the lawyer has known a lot more for a long time.

Fazio pops round to tell Salvo that Susanna had been released an hour before with some drama.

Luna rings Salvo, all miffed, saying that Salvo didn’t think his client would pay up. Money was left in an old necropolis in a bag. Salvo goes to the necropolis and as he’s checking out the bag of money – it’s full of paper and no money -he gets a call from Fazio, saying Valente is on his way, being followed by journalists. Not wanting to be found on site, Salvo makes off, only to find boyfriend at police station having been dumped by Susanna – he realises the sex was a form of saying “Goodbye”. The mother has also died.

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