Inspector Montalbano: Find the Lady, Collection 3 Episode 4

Please note that I watched this episode over two years 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.

“Find the lady” is an old card shark’s game, which links to the original Italian title of “The Game of the Three Cards’. which is not based on any of the books in Andrea Camilleri’s series but may be based on a Camilleri short story.

The episode stats with an old man taking a slow evening walk along a well-lit empty street, not noticing he’s being followed by a car. As he goes to enter a house, the car pulls up, and a man gets out, and “persuades” the old man (Girolamo Cascio) into the car.

On the way into work, Salvo sees a funeral with only one mourner. The dead man is Cascio, the mourner is his accountant Ciccio Monaco. Having got wet in the rain, we get the mandatory topless shot of Zingaretti as he changes shirt whilst talking to Fazio. Girolamo died in a hit and run which was dealt with by Mimi, who hasn’t been seen for days.

Salvo goes to lunch…..I’m beginning to recognise external sets!…..and is approached by Monaco, who says the death makes no sense….there are no skid marks on a well lit road, Cascio had been nervous due to phone calls, and had asked to be walked home after dinner with Monaco, which Monaco couldn’t do due to his sciatica.

Salvo visits Dr Pasquano in his private club, to hear that Cascio died at 2am, full of drink, covered in vomit, and hit with such force that his spine was broken in half.

Coming out of the club, Salvo finds Mimi and makes him sit and talk at a local cafe. Mimi’s had a tip that Tarantino is in town, a fraudster who robbed half of Vigata, then disappeared. Salvo complains that Mimi has spent no time on the Cascio case, then realises why as a beautiful woman in a tight dress comes sashaying down the street. It is Gloris, Tarantino’s wife, and Mimi is clearly in lust.

Salvo goes to visit one of the older judges, who tells him of the Rocco Pennisi case from 20 years earlier. Pennisi killed his lover’s husband, was convicted of murder, and had been released several days before and now Cascio is dead. Turns out that Cascio worked for Pennisi, and his fortune only started after Pennisi was jailed.

Pennisi comes to the station but the interview is unproductive. Salvo goes to visit Tommasino, who has appeared in previous episodes, who is Pennisi‘s cousin and he fills in some background. Renata was initially engaged to Rocco, but then got married to business partner Giacomo. Giacomo finds out about the affair, and when he is found dead, Rocco is blamed. Renata is the one to initiate everything, but was ambivalent at the trial. Tommasino thinks that with the conviction, she manages to get rid of Rocco and Giacomo in one go. There is good use of flashbacks, showing that Rocco in particular was much more dynamic and animated than when Salvo met him. It’s also rare to see people smoking on tv anymore, especially at the dinner table!

Salvo visits Gloris, who is a massive flirt, showing legs and cleavage a plenty. She takes the phone off the hook as they talk “in order to not be disturbed”. Salvo asks a few light questions, but mainly takes the chance to look round the rooftop of the house, which has a very nice garden connecting to other buildings.   Mimi is upset when he finds Salvo has visited Gloris, but calms down a little when Salvo points out what Mimi doesn’t see because he is thinking with the wrong part of his body…there are multiple escape routes from the house, Mimi needs to check out for garages or something similar that Tarantino could be hiding from. Taking the phone off the hook is to allow Tarantino to listen in, as he’s jealous, but it means he’s nearby.

 

Salvo visits Rocco’s sister Virginia who is blind. She tells of days leading to the murder where some gas men came to the house to do checks and went upstairs even though there were no pipes there. A few days later the gun that had previously been kept in the bedroom gets used in the murder.

Xavier Granieri, an Argentinian, is found dead, having being killed execution style. Pasquano thinks he was killed elsewhere and has had plastic surgery.  Investigations into Cascio show that he colluded with the Ricolo mafia family that got him the contracts that made the company rich. Salvo visits Monaco, who tempts Salvo to stay for dinner….it is pasta with broccoli after all!…..and manages to get Salvo talking as he eats. Monaco confirms the mafia connection, whilst giving detail of the voice calling Cascio having a weird accent and sounding rough.

The team get a recording of Granieri’s voice from his answer phone….well done Caterella! Monaco confirms it was the man calling Cascio. Rocco’s sister isn’t sure, but could have been the gas man.

Salvo returns to find Tarantino being taken away after being arrested. Mimi assures Salvo he’s stopped sleeping around but it seems more to convince himself.

It turns out that Granieri is not who they think he is, but is an ex Sinagra man called Salvatore Lucia, “leant” to the Riocolo family, and who emigrated to Argentina a few months after Rocco’s trial.

Salvo calls Renata in, and puts a theory on table….Cascio had Giacomo killed and framed Rocco as a favour to Renata, Granieri returns to blackmail Cascio and put pressure on Renata but kills him when it doesn’t work. She kind of confesses, but believes it won’t go anywhere due to lack of evidence. The question therefore is….who killed Granieri?

The team know that Lumia is the son of the shepherd they met when they found the body, so pay him a visit. He’s not home so Salvo waits alone. When the Shepherd comes back, it is clear he is old and probably ill. He admits his son returned after 20 years away, and admitted killing 8 people. It was when he admitted to killing a 9 year old that the father shot him with his own gun. He hadn’t killed himself as he wanted to square things with Salvo before dying. Salvo leaves the building, alone, and it is unclear as to whether the man is dead or alive – if the former, has he shot himself in Salvo’s presence, or, if Salvo did it himself?

 

 

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.

Book Review: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

A summer escape she’ll never forget . . .

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her Nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams? 

I’ve previously read books by this author, so when this book was available on Netgalley as an ebook, I took the chance to get a copy.

Lucia (born to Italian parents, but growing up in Wales following the death of her father and the remarriage of her mother) has been working on landing a promotion at her Welsh Law firm, the decision to come in after she leaves on her annual holiday to Italy.

Her arrival at her grandparents is bitter sweet – her Grandmother’s cooking, care and attention provide a level of coziness, her Grandfather’s restaurant is still providing people with traditional food, and many of the customers are the same visitors who come back time and again. This allows Lucia to start to relax almost immediately. However, it also turns out that things are also changing – her grandfather is getting old and wants to pass the restaurant on to someone who has similar passion as himself. In the absence of Lucia, her almost-ex husband Giacomo has been lined up to take over.

Lucia, Giacomo and Lucia’s Grandparents come to an arrangement – a competition to cover the next month, where Giacomo and Lucia’s cooking are pitted against each other, but the competition is to remain a secret. Not only does Lucia have to fight the memories of her marriage, the belief that Giac is sabotaging her, and that locals would not accept a female pizza maker consumes much of the book

Lucia also finds support and friendship in various women, including a young widowed friend (who needed to branch out to being more than a “kept mother” by her in-laws), Lucia’s Nonna and one of the local now-ex prostitutes

The decision day comes and yet still, things dont go quite according to plan. However, things work out in the best possible way, as you would hope and expect.

This was a lovely read during a summer break, with a suitable romance, lovely food, the chance of redemption and that perhaps you can go back to somewhere before where you get the chance to reinvent yourself, and help others at the same time

Book Review: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri


The Shape of Water is the first in Andrea Camilleri’s wry, brilliantly compelling Sicilian crime series, featuring Inspector Montalbano.

The goats of Vigàta once grazed on the trash-strewn site still known as the Pasture. Now local enterprise of a different sort flourishes: drug dealers and prostitutes of every flavour. But their discreet trade is upset when two employees of the Splendour Refuse Collection Company discover the body of engineer Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, apparently deceased in flagrante at the Pasture. The coroner’s verdict is death from natural causes – refreshingly unusual for Sicily.

But Inspector Salvo Montalbano, as honest as he is streetwise and as scathing to fools and villains as he is compassionate to their victims, is not ready to close the case – even though he’s being pressured by Vigàta’s police chief, judge, and bishop.

Picking his way through a labyrinth of high-comedy corruption, delicious meals, vendetta firepower, and carefully planted false clues, Montalbano can be relied on, whatever the cost, to get to the heart of the matter.

The Shape of Water is followed by the second in this phenomenal series, The Terracotta Dog.

 

Whilst this is the first of the book series, it is not the first in the TV series. My review of the exact episode can be found here.

Anyway, the events of the book are very similar to that of the TV episode, so I wont repeat here.  The books is translated from the Sicilian-Italian (a feat in itself, apparently). One of the things i struggle with with the TV episodes, is that not everyone gets named. Turns out, the same happens in the books. There are also things/inference in the show that doesn’t happen in the book.

Also: The relationship with Ingrid happens much earlier in the tv show than the book, with a seemingly different over tone in the book than in the book. In the book it’s Fazio, not Ingrid that takes the car down the waterway.

In Summary: the book is similar to the TV episode (something you should expect when Camilleri writes the screenplay too) but there are enough differences to make it worth the read.  Neither is better than the other, so feel happy in reading this book, and the series as a wole

 

Book Review: One Summer in Italy by Sue Moorcroft

When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.

So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.

Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…

From the publishers via Netgalley, this is my first Moorcroft book. It’s a  slightly different take on the “romance in a sunny foreign land” trope, and thank god!

Sofia, a woman in her late 30s nurses her sick father, as she has done since she was a teen. The early chapters of the book have her discussing what happens after her father dies, and she makes various promises, including to be happy, and to travel to her father’s home town in Italy to place flowers on her grandparents graves – they had died in a car crash several years before, and Aldo hadn’t seen them for years.

Once Aldo dies she goes to Italy and gets a waitressing job at a local place. Her father’s brother lives nearby, but she doesn’t have an address, so she seeks help from one of the local church goers. Before anything come to fruition however, she has to step in when the owner’s son (Davide) picks on a naive young German waitress called Amy. Levi, a guest also steps in to support Amy and Sofia, resulting in the owner backing down from sacking her.

Levi and Sofia get on, even though there is the rule that staff are not allowed relationships with customers. Sofia feels protective, even motherly, towards Amy, even when she suspects that Levi has a vested interest in the much younger woman. That, plus the “no fraternising” rule means that she backs away from anything deeper. However, the two meet away from the bar, where a conversation along lines of “you’re old enough to be her father” results in admission that Levi is her father, but she doesn’t know. Puts both Levi and Sofia in difficult position.

It turns out that Amy has run away from home because she overheard an argument, and found out that the man she’s always called “dad” is not actually her biological father. She feels her mother lied to every one around her and refuses to see anyone else’s standpoint.   She was infact the result of a one night stand between her mother and Levi when he was  17 and she was on a hen weekend.

The first half of the book covers both Sofia trying to get to know her extended family, whilst trying to help Levi navigate the minefield of watching his daughter whilst not letting on who he is.

In the background Levi’s friend and business partner has met up with a woman called Octavia, a tech genius who is far too intense and seems to want to know far more than appropriate with regards to Levi, and is willing to use Wes to get it. Naturally Wes cant see that he’s being used and is in lust – until Octavia dumps him.

The second part of the story is when all characters return to the UK, with Amy having found out who Levi was and wants to confront his behaviour.

I felt the secondary characters could have been used better – the hotel owner was mercurial and temperamental, apparently purely as a plot device – I wasnt convinced at the “Sofia is the niece of the competition” excuse. The tertiary characters, you have to wonder about  – could the secondary characters been expanded, and used as mechanisms to move story along? I felt Octavia (for all her obsessive checking of Wes and Levi) disappeared a little too easily for a literal stalker.

So, a nice distraction, and perhaps I’m overthinking a fine summer Italian romance.

About this author

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has held the coveted #1 spot in the Amazon Kindle chart. She’s also a bestseller in Germany. She writes women’s contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.
Sue has won the Best Romantic Read Award, been nominated for a RoNA and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. She also writes short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’.
An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

Inspector Montalbano: Equal Time, Collection 3, Episode 2

This is based on another short story, and therefore not based on a complete book.     

The episode starts with two men pulling up in a car, with one getting out and approaching a young blond girl on a moped. Scared, she throws her helmet at him and rides off, with the men giving chase. She nearly loses them a couple of times in the narrow backstreets, but decides to ditch the moped once out in the countryside. The men fire at her as she runs across the fields, missing her, but letting her go.

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Inspector Montalbano: Turning Point, Collection 3, Episode 1

Based on the 7th book in the series, whose English title is “Rounding the Mark“, Salvo turns up to station to find workers getting rid of graffiti. He tries to keep Caterella’s spirits up, but when he goes through the eerily empty station, he decides to call the commissioner. Mimi over hears the conversation and realises that Salvo plans to resign after recent exposes as to police corruption.

 Mimi rails against him, telling him that he may feel betrayed, but his resignation would be a betrayal of those who actually work for and respect him.

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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.

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Inspector Montalbano: Turning Point, Collection 3, Episode 1

montalbano-fazioI cant tell which book this comes from – it’s certainly not known under this name anyway – so cant do a “compare and contrast”.  Salvo turns up to station to find workers getting rid of graffiti. He tries to keep Caterella’s spirits up, but when he goes through the eerily empty station, he decides to call the commissioner (who is out of the office). Mimi overhears the conversation, and realises that Salvo plans to resign after recent raids on the police.  Mimi rails against him, telling him that he may feel betrayed, but his resignation would be a betrayal of those who actually work for and respect him.

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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.

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