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.

 

Inspector Montalbano: Montalbano’s Croquettes, Collection 2, episode 4

Montalbano's CroquettesMontalbano’s Croquettes is not based on one of the books but rather a short story, Gli arancini di Montalbano, which is still not available in English.

When I came to watch this again, I barely remembered watching it the first time around – however, some things fell into place that I know I wouldn’t have spotted the first time round, and that come to play later in the series. In particular the presence of Pasquale, the son of Montalbano’s housekeeper and his involvement in what happens during the episode.

It’s the time between Christmas and New Year, and starts with Salvo talking with Livia on the phone. They have agreed to spend New Year in Paris (her choice) and it’s clear from the outset that Salvo doesn’t want to go. He hasn’t even unwrapped the tie she’s sent him and wants him to wear during the break.  Fazio and the boys, Adelina (via Pasquale), and Mimi all invite Salvo out for New Year, but he declines, all the time telling people he’s going to Paris.

Salvo has allowed Caterella to take on Orlando – the dog from the previous episode. Caterella is loving having the dog in the barracks, but needs to be reassured that Salvo is not going to take the dog away.Inspector Montalbano

Meanwhile an older man and his much younger second wife have been found dead following their call driving off a the side of the mountain. His son is a painter and a drunk, who inherits €400,000 from the old man because both him and Stefania have died. The car is only 2 months old but has been back into the garage several times for apparent issues to do with the brakes, but nothing was found.  Turns out that Stefania is  – Surprise! – one of Mimi’s old girlfriends, and unfortunately Beba finds out and gives him no end of trouble. The wedding has to be postponed because of Beba’s father has a heart attack, the morning after Mimi has spent the night at Salvo’s getting drunk and complaining about cold feet. Salvo is not impressed when he finds out that the one thing Mimi HAS done after the heart attack is to talk to Livia.

The dead couple were having their villa worked on, and when visiting the site, Montalbano finds they’ve been burgled. This leads them to raid the Albanian work gang, most of whom are illegal and undocumented. The commissioner decides to lock all the gang up, but in interviewing one of the workers (who was found with the stolen DVD Player under his bed) coughs up who gave it to him (Pasquale) and why (for getting a copy of the keys). Pasquale then gets picked up for the burglary.

The police still can’t make sense of the accident – why did the brakes not work, when the garage had checked them out, and why were Stefania’s nails broken as if she tried to get out the car?  They find a tape with Stefania’s voice on it telling someone about how he will inherit everything once his father was dead, which implies the drunken son. However, Pasquale had been sitting waiting to burgle the villa, and saw someone fiddle with the car – it certainly wasn’t the drunkard son!

The police then have to consider that the drunk painter is not the only son of the old man, and with the help of his mafia contacts, Salvo finds the other child, what has happened to him, and how he fits into the death of his father and step-mother. It leads to a shocking result in a graveyeard that noone expected.

Pasquale is back in jail due to the robbery, but Salvo (wearing Livia’s tie) takes Caterella to pick Pasquale and his girlfriend up in order to go to Adelina’s for New Year. Mimi had hoped to go home early, leaving Caterella to cover the phones, but Salvo manages to ensure that Mimi remains in the office (to get back at him over Livia?).

We get to watch Adelina cook the promised Croquettes (one of Salvo’s favourites) – unfortunately I cant find any video to share, although there are several videos (usually in Italian!) of how to cook Arancini/croquettes.  I have also found a recipe with pictures

Livia tracks him down to Adelina’s house and the pair have a raging argument on the phone as she’s fed up with him making every excuse not to leave Sicily. The episode ends with fireworks in the dark, lighting the sky.

 

 

 

 

Inspector Montalbano: Excursion to Tindari, Collection 2, Episode 1

excursion to tindariThe fifth of the Commisario Montalbano novels, and for once, the episodes match. A young man found dead in street, with a single bullet to the forehead. Emanuele Sanfillipe, aka Nene, has no job, and a mother on small pension, but lives apparently above his means. Initial theory (based on that he was shot in the forehead by a single bullet) is that he’s shot by some one he knows.

Back at the station, Davide Griffo pops in to report his parents are missing. Turns out they live in same place as Sanfillipe, which gives Montalbano an excuse to nip round to get inside. The Griffo’s neighbour (older, v flirty) says the Griffos were very standoffish, and that Sanphillipe had prostitutes around every night for loud sex. It is clear she quite enjoyed listening to the sex noises, even if she pretends otherwise.

Mimi’s been acting distracted, but won’t say why. Caterella is put to work on the computer in Nene’s flat, going through the files and the CDs. Whilst Salvo is watching the evening appeal is made re the Griffos, there’s a knock on the door…it’s Mimi to explain his behaviour. Turns out that he’s getting married….to a policewoman! The two get drunk on whiskey and Salvo wakes the following morning with a raging headache, and Caterella missing….seems he’s been working all night, has found dirty letters, a novel and dirty pictures.

Griffos went on a coach trip to Tindari the previous Sunday with group of others. Nene had a job in computers, but had recently quit and moved out. Investigating his finances, he was found with 3million lire in cash and a cheque for 2million.

Turns out that Mimi has put in a request for transfer to be near his fiancée, but when the commissioner said he was glad because it would break the Mafiosi of the Vigata station up, Mimi took his transfer request back and said he would have to reconsider. Another scene of Italian male posturing, gesturing and pouting.

Mimi gets the job of reading the letters and the novel and has a theory of who the woman is. The bus driver comes in, confirms the Griffos were on bus going out, that they were 30  mins late getting back in, stopping 3 times, but he can’t remember if the Griffos made it back to Vigata.

Montalbano Livia At home, Salvo gets call from Guttadauro, the lawyer. His client, Don Balduccio Sinagra, has reached 90 years old, would  like to see Salvo in private. He has interrupted Salvo in the middle of getting dinner ready, and in the fine tradition of bachelors, Salvo attacks his dinner with a spoon, rather than go back for a fork.

The other people on coach trip get interviewed, some great old actors (believe they are all scicilian). They don’t really remember the Griffos, but one couple makes reference to a Miss Beatrice di Leo, who was on the bus to sell some of her household wares.

Mimi wants Salvo to talk to Ingrid as hethinks Ingrid and unknown woman know each other and he believes he knows who the woman is. Finds it hilarious that Salvo and Ingrid aren’t lovers…

Salvo and Beatrice meet at the local restaurant and eat before interview, neither like talking when eating. Despite Bebe having samples on back seat and coach only half full, Griffos sat on back seat regularly looking out back window.  They don’t get off bus until last unscheduled stop and she doesn’t know if they got back on.  Mimi joins in partway, is distracted by Bebe and Salvo leaves them to it.

Salvo goes to visit mafia man despite Fazio’s warnings. Lovely villa, great set piece, used multiple times in series. Great intimidation piece (it’s where Zingaretti got married in real life apparently).  Shows monied Sicily and power at best. Don Sinagra wants Salvo to believe his grandson Japichinu is sick and doesn’t understand what’s going on. New mafia doesn’t know how old mafia used to do it, and are therefore not playing by the rules. Don Don Sinagra, MontalbanoSinagra has had to take back control. He is not sorry for what he did in the past,  because he did it from faith and principle, which can’t be said for the new guard. There seems little reason for the meeting but I’ve learnt in watching these programs and reading the books that the mafia people here talk in code, saying one thing, meaning another, and Salvo is bright enough to get the hint.

Fazio is put on surveillance detail on mafia priest Crucilla, who was specifically introduced to Salvo by Don Sinagra, and who expects to be followed. Fazio is to follow him, letting Crucilla know he’s being followed w/o anyone else knowing it. He is to lead Fazio to Japichinu. .

The new commissioner,  who doesn’t like Salvo, calls Salvo to the office to point out he does not like fact that Salvo has been seen in cahoots with mafia old guard, but Salvo swings it his way, pretending  Sinagra wants to be informant.

It is only after meeting  that he hears of murdered old Couple that have been shot execution style whilst holding hands.  Fazio catches up with Salvo to tell him the priest will lead them to Japichinu the following morning.

Salvo goes to nenes flat finds videos of Nene with girls, falls asleep with one tape running. Wakes to banging on the door, neighbours complaining about noise, Mimi with his gun drawn. Salvo leaves Mimi to watch all the videos to see whether the lover is who he thinks it is. Sure enough he finds a video and brings it to Salvo, identifying her as Vanja, the wife is the transplant surgeon Isigo. Mimi doesn’t know if Isigo is jealous enough to kill.

The following morning, a team go down to hut with priest to pick up Japichinu, only to find him dead. Salvo doesn’t report finding Japichinu dead, wanting to thwart whatever plan Sinagra is using him for. Meanwhile, photos taken by bus driver confirm that sanfillipe was following the bus to tindari.

Salvo checks the Griffos post office account (nice post office!) to find they have nearly 100,000,000 lire in it, with half deposited in last two years. Son has no idea how they came up with that money, but he does point Salvo to dead aunt’s estate, and Salvo goes to visit Miss Baeri, who has inherited the flat and remembers that  Margherita being left some land and a stable.

People who watch shows like morse tend to dislike the switch between drama, comedy and back again in Montalbano. I’m beginning to like it, and this scene, where Miss Baeri doesn’t let Salvo in, but shuts door whilst she goes to get the will, only to have to call him back as he takes a huff, is a small but amusing scene to me.

Salvo goes to stable and seeing phone lines, breaks, hurting his shoulder. Cue mandatory topless shots of Zingaretti. Goes home to find Ingrid waiting. She rubs cream into his shoulder and he falls asleep. Wakes later and he shows the video of a naked woman Mimi found, and who Ingrid confirms as Vanja. Vanja has left for home a few months back, husband no longer interested in her and is unlikely to kill for her. Ingrid stays the night, in bed with a clothed Salvo spooning – the following morning Salvo is worried they did something more and Ingrid does nothing to allay his fears (In a later episode she complains about his “holier than thou” attitude towards her, when he sleeps with someone else, but still refuses to sleep with her).

Salvo and Mimi talk through theories, about how Sanphillipo and the Griffos are working together. Ingrid rings asking for a meet up as she’s talked to Vanja. The two have dinner on Salvos balcony, making good use of the sun setting into the sea. Turns out that Isigo had walked in on Vanja and Sanfillipe having sex, and Vanja got the impression the two men knew each other pretty well.  Following day, Isigo takes her to airport, sending her home, and telling her to stay away.

Salvo reads the book found in Sanphillipe’s house and finds passages that make him throw up. He gets a call from Sinagra, who claims he needs a kidney transplant, and that he hopes Isigo recovers from his current health scare soon enough to open his clinic again. Putting the phone down Sinagra’s shaking stops, showing he’s not as frail as he linked to make out – he has delivered the message he wanted, knowing that Salvo will understand sooner or later.

Mimi and Salvo discuss the book. Turns out it is a thinly veiled story of Isigo, who is massively in debt, and performs illegal transplants for rich clients, with the body parts taken from people whose remains are subsequently buried or dumped in the sea. Sanphillipo is the intermediary between Isigo and the gangs finding and disposing of the bodies. The illegal transplants also include children (which is what upset Salvo).

Salvo believes that Vanja can provide the link to everything, so she gets sent home to safety, Sanfillipe and the gGiffos are killed. Isigo is kept alive as he is still useful, but likely to be killed the minute he’s not.  Too many important people involved to make this public so salvo and Mimi to do nothing.

Salvo goes to the doctor’s house and finds him sitting on his own in silence. Isigo thinks Salvo is mafia and there to kill him, attempts to bribe and begs him not to. Salvo points his gun at him, Fazio and Mimi break in and chase Salvo, pretending to shoot at him. Salvo’s annoyed they not only followed him, but that he was being that predictable.

Mimi takes the Doctor to headquarters, winding him up enough to make him confess all to the commissioner. Salvo asks Nicolo to make a big deal of it on the news, including that Japichinu was involved and killed by same … He knows he was most likely killed on his grandfathers orders.

Calls Livia as he’s feeling down, she promises to visit following day. Meeting Bebe and seeing how she and Mimi interact, Livia suggests that she and salvo could get married too. For once, salvo doesn’t come up with an excuse. Finishes on some great romantic views over looking the sea, with a huge church in the background

Montalbano: The Terracotta Dog, Collection 1 episode 4

Montalbano - the terracotta dogBook two and Episode 4 of the Commisario Montalbano series, this starts out as an investigation into a Mafia influenced robbery and arms-cache but decends into the investigation of a cold case.   Salvo stages an arrest at gun point to bring in Tano the Greek – an old man from the old style Mafia. On being transferred to another prison, Tano gets ambushed….there’s a mole in the police. Tano dies but not before he talks to Montalbano, who passes on what was said to the commissioner.

Meanwhile a Vigata supermarket gets raided and the following morning, a truck, still full of stock is found abandoned outside of town. The manager comes in to report the theft, which appears to make no sense – why abandon the truck nearby with the stock still in it?

Based on what Tano has told him, Salvo and the team go looking for a cave up in the mountains, finally finding it and it’s full of weapons and police uniforms.

Salvo’s old headmaster comes to visit, giving him some history of the cave, including the name Lillo Rizzitano. Lillo’s father and grandfather sold stuff on the black market, but it is not known if Lillo survived Allied bombings of 1943 when his house was flattened.

Forensics find some paper in the cave that seems to link the guns to the supermarket robbery. Salvo outlines his theory to the commissioner, that the gun runners used the supermarket to stash the guns following a gun fight, and the two men agree to keep things under wraps.

On a subsequent visit to the cave, Salvo realises it isn’t symmetrical and in pulling the fake wall down, the team finds two bodies guarded by a terracotta dog. Pasquano thinks they have been dead at least 50 years and not killed there.

Mimi complains to Salvo about feeling left out, including not being part of the Tano arrest. There is some almost stereotypical Italian male behaviour, with waving of hands and much sulking/pouting at each other in a kinda macho way. Ultimately Mimi is told to do things Salvo’s way or else. However he ignores the advice and puts a tail on the Supermarket manager.

At their usual meeting place on a deserted runway, Gege warns Salvo that the new guard in the Mafia are offended by Salvo bringing Tano in and it is whilst they are talking that gunmen open fire, killing Gege.  Salvo kills one of the gunmen, but gets shot trying to take down the second. Salvo blames Mimi for getting him shot – by insisting that he gets pulled in on the supermarket case, he puts a tail on the manager, which alerts the Mafia, who then target Salvo – not knowing it was Mimi who had ordered the tail. Turns out lots of people know about their meeting spot, including half the police.il commisario

With Tano dead and Salvo out of action whilst he recovers, the case is effectively closed.    Livia comes to stay whilst Salvo recovers. (I believe that in the book, it is 3 women, not just Livia who comes to watch over him). Once out of hospital, Salvo visits Gege’s mother and they reminisce about the two men growing up together before he gets fed with foodstuffs that are probably not right for a man missing part of his colon.

The headmaster’s wife remembers a school friend (Lisetta Moscatos) who disappeared at same time as Rizzanto, as well as other names – including Mario Tumino.  It’s not entirely clear as to why Salvo takes Livia to the scene (he has caught a courting couple making out here previously), but it ends with her initiating them making out – as usual there is effective use of low lighting, making sure the scene is lit well.

At the public event for the mayor opening a tunnel, a plane flies overhead trailing banner saying Lisetta and Mario. The plane drops leaflets announcing their “reawakening”.

Salvo takes a couple of days off work and waits at home for a call. Cue moody staring off sea, and  topless shots of him swimming. Finally the phone call comes from some one who was there (Lillo Rizzitano, Lisetta’s cousin). Lisetta had run away after being raped by her father. Lillo reunites her with Mario, then leaves them alone. He comes back to find his Uncle Stefano (Lisetta’s father) looking for his daughter, raging like a wounded lover. It’s not Stefano who kills the pair but a hired killer who breaks into the house the following day and shoots them both whilst they sleep. Lillo buries the bodies in the cave, glad they are together forever.

As the old man takes a nap on his bed, Salvo finds the letter Livia has left him before she left, telling him that despite his selfishness and her fears she still loves him.

In writing this review, it seems there are some differences between the book and the show (I’ve only seen the latter), so it’ll be interesting to see what the differences actually are when I get around to reading the book.

Here is a piece on one of the dishes mentioned in the book

https://www.theguardian.com/books/little-library-cafe/2017/jan/12/food-in-books-pasta-con-le-sarde-from-the-terracotta-dog-by-andrea-camilleri