Inspector Montalbano: The goldfish and the Cat, Collection 2, Episode 6

montalbano-2

On the way to church, Mrs Todaro gets mugged, has her handbag taken, and a revolver is fired at close range but somehow misses.

Mimi comes in to pick up some papers, reminds Salvo re the wedding date and that he needs to pick up the rings, something Salvo has clearly forgotten, again. Meanwhile headquarters are sending cover for the month Mimi is off.

We cut to a priest climbing steps to his church (oh so many steps!) where another parishioner gets mugged. There are great views down to the town, showing how great Sicily looks, even with all those hills.

Mimi and Salvo meet for lunch and Mimi is wondering whether to rent his house out after the wedding. Obviously he still has cold feet and is thinking of a bolt hole. However lunch gets interrupted by commissioner, Bonetti Alderighi, who wants to see Salvo ASAP about the muggings. Since he is getting pressure from the church, Alderighi threatens to hand over to someone else.

Meanwhile there is a madman destroying things at Vigata A&E, and with everyone else out Salvo goes to find out what’s happening. He finds that the man, now sedated, went ballistic when he finds out that his daughter Marluccia is pregnant, giving Fazio a black eye in the process. They meet a Father Vassallo who runs a rehab centre outside Vigata and is sitting with Marluccia who is in shock.

There is a third case for the team with the disappearance of Doctor Saverio Landolino, who had gone out fishing the night before and not come back home. Nothing has been stolen and no signs of struggle, so doesn’t look like robbery or kidnapping.

Example dialogue:
Salvo: What’s happening?
Fazio: Did Caterella not explain?
Salvo: Yes he did, that’s why I’m asking

Mimi’s replacement turns up, an attractive woman called Barbera Bellini, who Salvo hasn’t seen in 12 years.

The following morning, the doctor has still not been found, Fazio meets Barbera and is instantly smitten. Meanwhile Angela lo Porto, the Doctor’s nurse, turns up for questioning. She believes he has been murdered by Ignazio Coglitore, the father who beat up Fazio in A&E, on the grounds that the Doctor got the daughter pregnant. She tells a tale that the girl had turned up a year before, the Doctor had instigated a sexual relationship and an excuse to see her every 2 weeks. Finally she turns up, pregnant, wanting to tell her father. Doctor puts her off, saying he needed to get a divorce and she last came round 5 days previously.

The Coglitores belong to religious cult, with the Marluccia’s aunt is the guru. Coglitore has taken the girl home from hospital and doesn’t let Salvo see her when he visits.

Salvo is buying rings when he hears a gunshot from outside, a woman has been mugged and actually hit with a bullet this time. Forensics have confirmed that the previously muggings have been firing blanks – the question is why?

Salvo returns to the police station to find Mimi flirting with Barbera. Mimi asks Salvo to find someone to rent his house. Salvo rents it out to Barbera, but asks her to go on job first….she gets sent to see the guru, who tells her to make choice between older man she’s known for years (Salvo) and younger man who is yet to make a move (Fazio). She leaves, whilst clocking who else was there including the harpies in the corner, knitting away and taking donations in silence……

She looks for and finds Marluccia, persuades her to escape, to where Salvo and Fazio are sitting with the car, having overheard everything. Girl gets taken to priest’s safe house, with Barbera plans to stay the night, Salvo makes Fazio stay too……

Following day, Mrs Jopollo gets mugged and shot properly…..she’s the sister to the deputy minister Biondiolilo so there’s political pressure almost immediately to get the murder sorted. Commissioner tells Salvo that he’s hanging case over to Limeo from the flying squad. Naturally, Salvo not impressed and walks out, but predicts that another woman will be mugged, with blanks being fired again….

Meanwhile, the Doctor’s wife has withdrawn €2000000 from the bank account of the husband…..Salvo goes to visit Mrs Landolino, only to find she’s left previously, and that the priest has been visiting daily.  Salvo goes to the airport to find the missing doctor and his wife in the check-in queue to leave the country. Salvo makes sure he’s seen but leaves without saying anything. Goes to see the priest who confirms hypothetical story, including how Dr has left priest a chunk of money. Salvo promises that he make up some story for the press.

Another woman gets mugged, but this time she manages to injure the mugger, so there’s a search at the hospitals for someone with a cut hand.

It’s 3am and Salvo gets woken by Beba calling….Mimi is missing. Salvo knows exactly where he is, and goes to the batcheor pad to find Barbera in a towel and Mimi fast asleep. He’s tried to get Barbera drunk to have sex, but failed. Salvo sends him home. Meanwhile Barbera has realised that the dead woman, Mrs Jopollo, had visited the guru, leaving a large wad of cash behind. Mrs Panebianco (the next door neighbour) confirms the story, saying Mrs Jopollo had left in a hurry, believing that her husband was in a critical condition in hospital, leaving her pets behind.

During the interview, Fazio confirms that they’ve found the mugger, who has previous, and was defended…..by Mr Jopollo. Salvo goes to visit Mr Jopollo and puts his theory to him…Jopollo killed his wife over money being given to the Guru every time she visits, but he had forgotten about the cat and goldfish. Jopollo thinks there is no evidence until Salvo points out that they have the accomplice who has confessed.  The other muggings were to hide the fact there was a specific target, and Jopollo picked a petty criminal who he had defended previously.

Later, Salvo and Mimi are out on the evening before his marriage. They meet Fazio and Barbera who are out dancing, and Mimi wants to go for a drink with all the pretty girls, but Salvo sends him home. He almost goes to the bar, but finally decides to go home too……

Shelf Stacking

TBR Shelf 1

My books are currently all in one room, but there are too many just to be on the bookshelves. One of my objectives this year is to rearrange my shelves. They were originally split into “keep” and “let go” but after the last few years the two sets seemed to have got muddled up together. The “let go” books are sandwiched betewen the Crafting “keep” reference books and the Graphic Novel “keeps”.   I can’t even claim to have a “Read” and “Not Read” section any more either!

It doesn’t help that two shelves also include DVDs (I am at a loss as to where to put them otherwise), and whilst I have some of the hardbacks I know I won’t read for a while packed high away, there are books in the series that I have yet to read. Since these latter books are currently in easy reach and I still haven’t read them, what is the chance of reading them if I pack them out of reach?! Perhaps there is a theory there that perhaps tidiness is better than ease in these situations, so perhaps I should bite the bullet?

“Let it go, let it go!”

There is a plastic bin in one corner that holds the books that will ultimately leave the flat.  This bin was overflowing at one point last year, when one of the cafes where we have our bookcrossing shelves closed down for refurb. Rather than lose access to so many books, we spent several weeks removing the books to various parts across the city. This included me taking rather a large number home myself. Thankfully I was able to disseminate a number to others in our extended group, primarily via the bookcrossing uncon that was held in Birmingham last year, and also to other shelves across town. It has  allowed me to visit some places I hadn’t been for a while….much has changed, especially considering some of these places used to be my regular haunts!  I must start visiting places again, and I think this is actually one of my resolutions this year. I must also find out if and when our previous cafe will be opening again and taking books….another set of people I’ve not been in regular contact with.

Book Embargo

I do have some kind of embargo on books coming into the flat, and that held for much of last year. However, I got given a number of books over Christmas and New Year, and I also picked up a large pile of books at a recent bookcrossing event as I didn’t want a collection of books to be broken up.  I also went to a bookstore event and since I had been given a number of book tokens, again over Christmas, I managed to pick up some more books there. Whoops!  I managed to find somewhere to put them, but it certainly didnt help with keeping the place book free!

Do you have books stacked in every room of your house or are you strictly a believer that books belong on bookshelves?

Bookcrossing – How does it work then?

I know I have talked about Bookcrossing before, but I just thought I’d cover some details of how it can work on a local basis.

First of all: to define Bookcrossing (from the website itself)bannerlogo_world-library

BookCrossing is the act of releasing your books “into the wild” for a stranger to find, or via “controlled release” to another BookCrossing member, and tracking where they go via journal entries from around the world.

The website itself was set up in the US in the early 2000s, and I joined early 2003 when I was living in Ireland.

The basic principal is as follows:

  • A user registers a book on the site, which provides an automatically generated number, that the user adds to the book.
  • The book is “released” (more later), hopefully to be found by someone else.
  • If the book is found, the new owner can go back to the site, enter the unique number and say what they thought about it and/or say what they are doing with it. This is optional, and it is frequently happens that books are found years later in unexpected countries, which then begs the question what happened in the meantime.
  • The book then gets passed on etc.

Here’s a shortish video, made a few years ago now, that could help:

Releasing.

It is a good idea not to leave a Bookcrossing book, even if clearly labelled, in a number of areas. These include airports (security reasons), bookshops (offering a free book in a place that sells books? Hey give a man a break and don’t undermine a bookseller from making a living), anywhere where common sense says not to leave.

  • For security reasons, books were rarely left in train stations, specifically places like the London Underground. However it seems there has been a certain relaxation of security (I.e. No longer Taking everything left behind and blowing it up), so this unwritten rule has been relaxed slightly.
  • The true spirit of bookcrossing is to leave in wild to be found by someone else. A park bench. A bus seat. A train station. The luggage rack in public transport. On a cafe table. A themed release…”How to be Good” on the pastry shelf in Tescos (yes this has happened). An art book on bench opposite a related picture/art piece. It can be fun being creative as to where a book can be left and therefore found.
  • With wild releasing however there comes a low “catch rate”. Books are collected by staff who don’t understand or don’t care. Books are picked up by people who will pass on, and pass on, but never tell you what happened.
  • The guys in the local train station have been trained that I am now “mad book lady” and that any books found in the station are to be set aside for me and I will take care of them…..
  • Relatively Closed communities. Donate books to homeless shelter, domestic violence, YMCA. You may just provide someone with the book that changes everything.
  • Pass onto friends. We want to share wih family and friends dont we?
  • Wish lists – people can build up their own wishlis on the site and users can search wishlists to see who is interested in reading a specific books. A book can be passed on to a specific, single user Random Act of Bookcrossing Kindness (RABACK)
  • Rings/Rays
    • A ring is where a book is passed through a number of people, ultimately to return to the person who started the ring, collecting Journal Entries along the way.
    • Rays are similar to Rings, but the book doesnt return to the originator.
    • The rules for Rings and Rays are determined by the originator of the book.  Whether this in National or International. The timelimit allowed for reading the book. The general order of people (not all people can take the book at the time determined for instance so can opt out). There is a level of trust that people will observe the rules, and pass the book on in good time.

OBCZs

Shelves in public access places where books can be left, stored safely, and picked up by visitors. Usually cafes or pubs, where its traditional to buy a coffee, lemonade, cake, greet staff etc for the staff to see benefit. We have Official BookCrossing Zones around the city and they are:

Meetings.¶

Thankfully, Birmingham is large enough to have a regular meet, but there are areas that don’t have enough active members to make local meets productive. The style of the group often depends on how it was set up originally – Birmingham meets for coffee on a Saturday afternoon, the Dublin one was/is held on a Thursday night in the pub as I set it up cos I wanted someone to go out drinking with….There are a number of groups on Facebook, including Bookcrossing Official Facebook GroupBookcrossing UK Facebook Group,

(Un)Conventions

There is an annual Convention, held in various locations around the world (April 2017 will be in Oslo). Representatives from the US site often attend. There are also Unconventions (i.e. “not the Convention”), the last one held in Birmingham in 2016, the next one in Loughbrough.

Anyone have any questions? Want to know more? Leave a comment below or come to a meeting!

Book Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter

The Long Earth Book Review

The Silence was very faint here. Almost drowned out by the sounds of the mundane world. Did people in this polished building understand how noisy it was? The roar of air conditioners and computer fans, the susurration of many voices heard but not decipherable…. This was the office of the transEarth Institute, an arm of the Black Corporation. The faceless office, all plasterboard and chrome, was dominated by a huge logo, a chesspiece knight. This wasn’t Joshua’s world. None of it was his world. In fact, when you got right down to it, he didn’t have a world; he had all of them.

ALL OF THE LONG EARTH.

This is a Terry Pratchett, who is/was one of the few authors I generally buy their books in hardback. It’s been a while since he did a collaboration, but it was around the time that this series was announced it was also announced that Pratchett had early onset Alzheimer’s, which he subsequently died from. There are 5 books in the series, and this is the first, where the whole thing gets started.

It turns out that the Earth we live on isn’t the only version of this world….it seems that there are many other versions, at various stages of development, that can be reached by “stepping” either east or west. Some can do this naturally, some can do it with the use of a little stepping device that is powered by a potato, and some can’t step at all. There is a certain level of resentment in the latter group, especially  rest of their family leave for what they see as a better life and Leave them behind.

We are introduced to a number of main characters through whose eyes we see this new world.

  • Labsong who is a Tibetan consciousness associated with the Black corporation, and it is his money, tools etc that set up finding out more about the non datum earths.
  • Joshua is a natural “stepper” and Labsong gives Joshua the tools to get away from Datum Earth and investigate the other possibilities.
  • In the latter part of the book we are joined by Sally, a natural stepper, who is the daughter of the man who invented the stepping device. Rumour has it that daddy is dead, but there is some foreshadowing that he might turn up in a following book.

This is a relatively slow book, where Labsong, Sally and Joshua are generally left alone to do their own thing. Occasionally they get to investigate new creatures, some benign, some not, and this allows the authors to muse on what earth may have looked like had evolution taken a little detour from what happened on our version of earth.

Finally they come across a massive beast that seems to be the source of Joshua’s unease and Labsong sacrifices his ambulatory unit, if not his consciousness, to be absorbed by the alien in order to find out more.

The focus on the Long Earth for the story made it a bit disconcerting when very late in the book they introduce the idea of the long Mars. Either I was not paying attention in the rest of the book….always a possibility….or this was a very late entry of the idea of alternate other worlds. The fact there is a whole novel dedicated to the long Mars makes me wonder…..

I actually read this book in late 2016, but it’s taken me this long to write a review. It wasnt *bad*, it’s just been really difficult to know what to say about it. In reading other reviews, it seems I’m not the only one. Whilst overall people like/love the book, there are a number of things said that I tend to agree with:

  • It seems more of a number of short stories on a theme, rather than a comprehensive joined up narrative.
  • Whilst there are some amusing scenes that bring a wry smile on occasion, it’s missing the sharp wit of Pratchett that brings up dodgy looks on the bus when you laugh out loud.
  • Labsong and Sally are reasonably well defined and memorable, but Joshua (as the character the human outsider should be able to relate to the most) is the least memorable – it took me ages to remember what his name was!

 

Inspector Montalbano, The Scent of Night, Collection 2, Episode 5

The scent of the NightThis is the 6th book in  the series, but slightly later in the TV series. The episode starts with Salvo turning up to a hostage situation, where the 80 year old Garzullo is holding Miss Consentino, the secretary of banker Gargano, hostage, claiming to have been robbed by Gargano. Salvo resolves the issue by pretending the banker has already been arrested, so holding the hostage is pointless. As usual, it’s great use of old Sicilian actor as the wronged man.

Salvo questions Consentino, who seems to have immense trust in her employer, even though she has no idea where he is and doesn’t seem too concerned she hasn’t seen him for  a month.

Gargano had arrived 2 years previously, had attracted a decent number of clients, paid 20% interest after 6 months only to finally disappear close to the payout date. Mimi thinks Gargano has conned a Mafiosi and got himself killed as a result – Guarnotta from the Montelusa fraud squad agrees with him.

The Commissioner calls, demanding Salvo to be over in his office immediately, something Salvo is not prepared to do. He goes for a walk on the beach and finds out that during a nearby house renovation, the old olive tree has been uprooted. Angry, he takes a spade to the windows of the building site nearby.

Salvo fakes an accident, arrives in the Commissioner’s office with a bandage on his head. Commissioner has found out via anonymous tip off about Francois, and has formed a negative opinion of the whole affair, deciding Salvo has stolen the savings book, and essentially trafficked Francois to Mimi’s sister.  Salvo manages to prove that he left savings book with a notary, having not touched a cent of it and lets it be known to the Commissioner.

Giacomo Pellegrino (uncle to the Giacomo Pellegrino who works for Gargano) comes to report vandalism to a house he’s renovating. Both Salvo and Fazio realise this is the house with the uprooted olive tree that Salvo damaged in anger.

Mimi is out on wedding leave, something Salvo has forgotten, even though he is the best man. A month previously, the nephew visited the uncle to tell that he had to go to Germany on business and was expecting to be away a month.

Salvo goes to visit Michela Manganaro, the other employee. She lives with her parents who are seriously deaf. Cue lots of shouting, especially from neighbours who come out to see what’s happening. It becomes clear she’s already been interviewed by Mimi and she knows him well enough to know he’s distracted and soon to be married. Salvo leaves, she gets dressed, they meet later for her to be questioned. She’s quite a flirt, comes onto Salvo only for he to reject her. She believes both Pellegrino and Giacomo are gay, have probably slept together, but that Pellegrino would never have been sent away for a month on business.

That evening, Mimi pops round just as Salvo is about to eat. He hits the whiskey, pouring out that he’s got cold feet about the wedding. Cut to later, we find Salvo has fallen asleep on couch, his food untouched. He takes himself to bed only to find Mimi already there, dressed but nursing the empty whiskey bottle.

The following morning Fazio has found notes to say Gargano’s car had been seen, but the witness (Tommasino) is unreliable as he is believed to be delusional.

Cesare Bocci
Cesare Bocci – Mimi

Mimi comes to the office to say that the wedding has had to be postponed because Beba’s father had heart attack. Salvo is pissed that Mimi has told Livia before him.

Salvo visits Miss Consentino again. She’s surprised at Pellegrino’s visit to Germany. She gives over Pellegrino’s Vigata address, so that Salvo can interview the landlady, who says he moved out even earlier, expecting to come back to his own place.

Following a visit to see Francois, who expresses a desire to become a policeman like Salvo, Salvo sends copies of adoption papers to commissioner, threatening slander if commissioner brings the subject up again.

The team find that Pellegrino had booked flights to Germany but he never got on it, having changed his ticket. They work out where he stayed the night before he was due to leave…the house under renovation.

Salvo wants to talk to Tommasino, the guy who reports seeing things not there. Tommasino explains that he’s very much like his grandson, who he plays with, and has developed the tendency to see things that aren’t there, but often knows they’re not real. If they can agree the three headed monster isn’t real, but that cars are, why should he not be believed when he reports he’s seen a car?

Salvo takes Tommasino to the spot there he saw the car, and when sea is less rough, Salvo goes diving, finding Gardano’s car at the bottom, with a dead body in it. Salvo visits Manganaro, who gives him some info to think about, including that secretary has large house just outside Vigata and definitely had a thing for Gangarno

Fazio has found that Gargano has paid Pelligrino 350000€ in the last year, probably blackmail money as Pelligrino has realised what Gargano is up to. Blackmail has Gargano meeting Pelligrino on the beach the 31st August, shooting him and putting him in the car. Gargano hides as Tommasino comes walking past, then pushes the moped and the car into the sea.

Fazio investigates Consentino more and for once his in depth info allows Salvo to realise she is the niece of Miss Cusuco, the older woman we met in episodes 1 & 2. Mrs Cusuco tells how niece was a little strange, OCD and delusional, refusing to accept things when her father died, keeping his corpse in the house for 3 days.

Salvo goes to visit Miss Consentino, but she gets knocked down in the street outside the office. He takes her home, she shows him round the house, leading to the guest room, where the decomposing corpse of Gargano is laid out. She is acting dazed and as if there’s nothing strange or wrong with the situation. Now in pain, she finally agrees to have the doctor called. Having known her a long time, the doctor understands Salvo’s  request to have her sedated  long enough for Salvo to call in Guarnotta from the fraud squad to finish it off. Whilst he waits, Salvo imagines that Gargano has turned up at the house after killing Pelligrino, stays the night and it’s during the night that Consentino kills him.

The episode finishes with a return to site where the killing took place, where Salvo gets to look out to sea, all moody.

 

Book Review: Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay

 

Death on the Cherwell Book ReviewFor Miss Cordell, principal of Persephone College, there are two great evils in the world: unladylike behavior among her students and bad publicity for the college. So her prim and cosy world is turned upside down when a secret society of undergraduates meets by the river on a gloomy January afternoon, only to find the drowned body of the college bursar floating in her canoe.

The police assume that a student prank got out of hand, but the resourceful Persephone girls suspect foul play, and take the investigation into their own hands. Soon they uncover the tangled secrets that led to the bursar’s death – and the clues that point to a fellow student.

Received from Poisoned Pen Press, via Netgalley, in exchange for a review.

I’ve been in two minds as to whether to write a review right now about this book, but decided to give it a go. I read this in late 2016, at a time that I became a touch apathetic around reading in general, and this might well have soured enjoyment of any book I read during this time.

This should be exactly my type of book – set in a woman only college, with plucky gels suspecting foul play; their best men friends/brothers being pulled into the investigation (despite them being asked to do unspeakably bad things – like ask their friends questions!; a random Yugoslavian student who may be mad enough to kill; and several older, gentlemanly policemen who have to put up with women going where they shouldn’t.

In reading other reviews of this book to get some inspiration, it seems that other people are able to articulate my general mood – one calls it a “curate’s egg” (i.e. “good in parts”), whilst others say that the story “ebbs and flows”. This is generally what I was thinking, where the conversations between the girls for example are good, but there is far too much time spent working out possibilities in terms of alibis, motives and routes taken. The attitudes of some of the characters are quite old fashioned to modern day audiences, but are very much a product of the time the book was written – and should not be a surprise to consumers of Golden Age Crime.

In Summary: I might well read this book again in the future when I’m in a better frame of mind, and should my reaction change, you’ll find out about it!

 

Book Review: Christmas at the Rekindle Inn by Lori Waters

 

Christmas at the Reindle Inn #BookReviewMary Walker has a habit of giving in when it comes to her mother, but this time her mom went too far. At first glance, the gift seems innocent. Seven days at a lovely Vermont inn in mid-December is Mary’s idea of the perfect Christmas present—that is until she discovers her traveling companion’s identity.

The Rekindle Inn is the last place J.T. Walker wants to spend his Christmas vacation, much less in the company with the woman who’d recently ripped his heart to shreds. A challenge of wills, and the need to show Mary he no longer cares, has him on the plane to Santaville faster than the time it takes to unwrap a candy cane.

The Rekindle Inn specializes in mending relationships, but when the Walkers check in, it will take more than a little Christmas magic to bring these two broken hearts back together. More like a Christmas miracle.

Picked up from Netgalley in exchange for a review, this almost didn’t make it into the Christmas Reading pile, until I was checking my dashboard on the site for another book, and – eeep! It was there ready to read, and my chance of a themed romance was rapidly running out the door!

So: it’s a romance set at Christmas, so you have to suspend any Grinchy-ness if you’re going to survive this book. A week before Christmas, and a month before their divorce is finalised, Mary and JT (Joseph Tanner) (yes, there’s the first of them!), are sent to the Rekindle Inn by their mothers, in the hope they can recover what’s left of their marriage.

They have been separated for 6 months, ever since Mary organised a surprise vacation, only for JT to bail out at the last minute “for work purposes”. Both characters have issues that have contributed to their marriage breaking down – Mary hasn’t trusted anyone since her father walked out on her mother when Mary was 10, and she gives up at the first sign of trouble anywhere in her life. JT has always felt that whatever he did was never “good enough” for his father, so he strove to be the best at his job, whilst neglecting his marriage.  Both of them struggle with communication, with their spouse and family members. Neither have confronted their parents about the trip, or their issues.

Arriving at the Rekindle Inn, the couple realise there is something unusual about the people who make up the staff and the community, starting with the fact that their hosts are called Mr and Mrs Klaus, and virtually no-one is over 5 feet tall. There’s the occasional “slip up” where references are made to “el, I mean staff”.

This is told primarily from the point of Mary, with a little side view from JT.  Some of the secondary characters are more 3 dimensional than others but some are barely sketched.

Once at the Inn, the couple are told about the week’s schedule, which involves time spent apart as well as putting the two of them together as a couple.  Each day is themed, and allows the couple to reflect on what made them fall in love in the first place, and hopefully bring some spark back into their relationship. They do get together – briefly – during the week, but it is the end of the week when Mary’s new boyfriend turns up to pick her up, and JT’s  boss’ daughter continues to try and get her claws into him that almost ruins the reconciliation.  However, as per all good romances, especially one set at Christmas, things work out as wished for!

The Christmas tie-ins were laid on a little thick for my liking, but them’s the breaks. Some people love the book, some people hate it, I found it to be a nice, fast, post Christmas read over lunch one day.