The episode began with a lack of Prosecco to wash down the sardines Adelina had prepared for Salvo’s dinner. Salvo went to a local restauranteur to buy some wine which was a great deal more problematic than one might have expected. When Livia and Salvo spoke over the phone it was apparent that Salvo was going to talk to his chief to try and find a solution to his long distance love affair. A transfer away from Sicily would, he argued, force him to grow up.
Meanwhile a man came in to report that a thief had taken some but not all of the lira in his wallet and left a silver watch behind as well. This was the first of a spate of robberies where a percentage of counted money went missing. All victims told their stories of puzzlement at how it had happened and why not everything was taken.
Moreover in a separate case Pamela, the barmaid who had sold Salvo the wine the night before, had disappeared. Pamela had a new man every week so looking at former lovers might be quite the job.
Mimi was conflicted about Salvo’s proposed move away from Sicily. On the one hand he felt stifled by being under Montalbano but on the other liked the rapport they had developed over the years. He warned Salvo a boring and repetitive life awaited him in Genoa.
When investigating Pamela’s disappearance it transpired that her real name was Ernesta and that she had been recording the name of her lovers in diaries with details of gifts, phone numbers etc. – gold chains, bracelets. Pamela seemed quite the girl. Had her sleeping around led to her disappearance? Had she got on the wrong side of a jealous wife? Had she fallen foul of a mafioso? Mr Puma provided further details about her disappearance on the Sunday as did Pitrino and Barletta her workmates. Pamela had received a phone call earlier that evening which seemed to have frightened her but despite that Pitrino’s offer to walk her all the way home had been turned down.
Stella the bank manager provided Salvo with more information about Pamela closing her account on the Monday morning and used the occasion to make Salvo realise how he had let her down with his words being meaningless when she thought he was different to other men.
Pamela had been inaccurately accused of blackmailing a former boyfriend and as she was frightened by his threats she had decided to leave Sicily. Her body however turned up near the railway line at Montelussa.
Salvo made a deal with the thief to use his skills to find proof of a link between a corrupt lawyer and a recent kidnapping of an important man’s son. The honest thief got his just desserts. The real blackmailer was also revealed and justice was served to them and the murderer.