Benandjerrygirl's Blog

Just another weblog



Montalbano – A Delicate Matter



Salvo is back in Vigata, Sicily! Livia will have to get used to coming home to Salvo not being there when she comes home from work. The many faces of Livia are somewhat confusing for the audience so it is as well they make the character names obvious in the exposition of the first scene with them both. “Exasperating!” as Livia would say. (Played this time by Sonia Bergamasco.)

Montalbano is visiting Livia in Boccadasse when he is called back to Vigata to investigate the murder of Maria, a 70-year-old prostitute – as well as disturbing accusations at an elementary school.

Mimi as usual is overly keen to interview an attractive female witness and goes down the route of deviant sex as the motivation/explanation of the murder. Salvo is unimpressed by this and also the American style of victim/suspect photos on the wall of the police station. Catarella has a theory about the son of a prostitute being the client.

Of course things are more complex than that. Maria has been preparing for retirement with her husband and as a waiter he won’t stop working until she does as he wants to have the continued respect of the community, not one associated with being a ruffian who lives off immoral earnings.

Meanwhile a young male teacher is rumoured to be overly affectionate towards the young daughter of a fellow teacher. The woman is living alone with her daughter while her husband works away from home. The young male is good looking and unblemished until this new rumour takes hold.

Salvo learns to send picture attachments in his phone and Mimi’s latest infidelity is discovered due to leaving his gun behind.

Adelina takes it upon herself to teach Livia to cook and Livia’s new dog takes over the household more and more.

One suspect ends up dead narrowing down the possibilities.

Salvo, of course, solves the case while we feast our eyes on the scenery.

Salvo Montalbano Luca Zingaretti
Giuseppe Fazio Peppino Mazzotta
Livia Burlando Sonia Bergamasco
Mimi Augello Cesare Bocci
Catarella Angelo Russo
Pasquano Marcello Perracchio
Nicolo Zito Roberto Nobile
Teresita Gaudenzio Miriam Dalmazio
Maria Castellino Ileana Rigano
Serafino Lollo Franco
Preside Vasilico Sebastiano Tringali
Mimmo Tavano Giancarlo Barbara



Young Montalbano – An Apricot


An Apricot

Everything is ready for Salvo’s move to Genova – except, it would seem, Salvo himself. As he contemplates a new life away from his beloved Sicily and prepares to hand his role over to his deputy, soon to beinspector, Mimi’ Augello, Montalbano can’t help but be drawn deep into one last investigation.

A young woman has been found dead in what appears to have been a tragic accident, her car discovered at the bottom of a cliff with her body in it. But the evidence doesn’t add up and, despite Augello’s readiness to accept the easy conclusion, Montalbano remains convinced that the inconsistencies of the case need unpicking further. With only a few days to go till his planned move, will our most Sicilian of inspectors manage to extricate himself from Vigata?

Salvo, Salvo! How could you turn your back on your lifetime love to stay and tidy up the crimes of Vigata? Food, the wind-swept sea. playboy Mimi and Catarella’s mispronunciations had more pull than Livia’s slinky hips, sun bleached hair and sad eyes. And Salvo had made that decision at the fork in the road only to find out when he arrived back at the station that there had been a catastrophic attack in Palermo. It was obvious even to Livia that Salvo’s place was always going to be in Sicily, fighting crime and the Mafia.

Young Montalbano The Honest Thief

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.

Young Montalbano series 2 – “La Transazione” “The Transaction”

Barely a month has passed since Livia and Salvo decided to spend some time apart. Salvo is gloomy and confused. While investigating the robbery of some 60 security boxes at a small local bank, he seeks the advice of rival bank manager Stella Parenti, whom he’d met during a previous case. Alluring Stella makes no secret of being taken with Salvo and asks him out. Has Montalbano found a way to eclipse his melancholy thoughts of Livia?

Meanwhile, another case presents itself to the Vigata inspector – a retired doctor is found murdered in his own home. The resulting investigation will echo Montalbano’s personal dilemmas about the complexities of love.

“Don’t you think it’s time to snap out of it?”

“It’s only been a month.”

And so began the episode, quickly followed by talk of circuses and a rubbery – that Catarella eh, what is he like!

Barracuda the banker had opened his bank only three months previously and had already many clients. He claimed to help farmers, unlikely in Vigata, and was trying to attract fishermen but it seemed likely that the 60 safety deposit boxes were something to do with the Mafia. Later it was said to be more to do with sharp practices, small print on contracts hiding exorbitant interest rates and loan sharking.

Montalbano got some useful information from Stella Parenti, the pretty bank manager he had met in a previous episode, and she was obviously smitten with him so invited him to the circus and the fortune teller followed by dinner next door. Mimi of course turned up which made Montalbano want to change plans. The real interest of the evening was the fortune teller who made an accusation of murder. Montalbano ended up leaving the bank manager at her door and took an older woman home so she would not get thrown into a ditch or murdered.

Salvo at this stage of his life was still in contact with his father who told him what Barracuda’s bank’s reputation was.

The murdered doctor’s fiancee seemed to cast doubt on the theory that the murder was about inheritance as there were no children or nephews.

Eva Riccardi, the fortune teller, had disappeared. Her suitcase contained bullets – had she extracted revenge from the doctor for his earlier crimes as a Black Shirt?

Montalbano meanwhile continued to miss Livia so much that he couldn’t bring himself to sleep with Stella. “I’m not ready,” seemed a bit girlie but Stella seemed to understand.

Eva claimed the murderer was the doctor’s fiancee and not herself. She wouldn’t be drawn into discussions about whether Livia was the girl for him or not but advised him to not let a bad experience change him for the worse.

Of course cherchez la femme  remained a good way to operate and it wasn’t quite as simplistic as one might have expected.

And, naturally, Montalbano reached his “crossroads” in the airport and chose what we all knew he would.

Real love.

Young Montalbano 2: “Morte In Mare Aperto” “Death on the High Seas”

Fires and heroism have featured in the past two Montalbano storylines. Last week Montalbano was the reckless fool entering the burning hotel and this week it was Mimi rescuing someone from the exploding fireworks factory. Mafia family feuds feature more frequently in Young Montalbano than they every did in the original stories.

Mimi continued to be a rogue and a scoundrel, suggesting that he fix up Salvo with a German tourist or an Italian twin while Livia was away. Salvo remained monastic concentrating on the fishing boat death and the difficulties Fazio was having in his personal life.

Catarella meanwhile tripped over door frames, did crosswords, pinned up photos of fugitives and nearly passed out when he saw his own blood. Italian humour is of the slap-stick kind.

Cipolla the fisherman who shot his shipmate was either an angry husband, a pre-meditated murderer or someone who needed to defend himself off the coast of North Africa depending on which version of the shooting was true.

Wedding suit fittings, shoe catalogue photos and festival confetti all were used to show us Salvo’s nervousness about the wedding plans. Livia’s love of fun and spontaneity was demonstrated by her having booked a table at a Shrove Tuesdsay carnival party. Salvo’s commitment to his job was demonstrated by the shoot out in the car park while she watched aghast on the steps.

Livia’s criticisms of Salvo and his commitment to her were spot on. She was unable to live the lot of a policeman’s wife and put any future children through the uncertainties of wondering if daddy would come home. Salvo on the other hand was not willing to give up his attitude to police investigations that made him who he was.

Young Montalbano – Series 2: “La Stanza Numero Due” “Room Number Two”

A fire broke out in a beach-side hotel in Vigata. Salvo, being the dashing eponymous hero, dashed into the flames to try and rescue the hotel guest who had gone back into the flames to salvage something important. Luckily for Salvo, the hotel owner – Ciulla – had more luck persuading him to leave than he had had with the guest. Salvo lived to investigate the death of the guest.

Meanwhile Montalbano and Livia plan their wedding. Mimi continued to annoy and help Montalbano by turns. Mimi was Salvo’s best friend even although he was a ladies’ man so was the obvious choice for the witness – or best man according to Livia. Full of advice about wedding music and rings, Mimi tried to be helpful. All Salvo wants to think about is the case. Salvo asked his former boss Carmine to be his witness. Mimi was furious.

Zapulla had been wanting the hotel for the land and offered Ciulla 300 million. Ciulla said this proved he could not have committed arson on his own hotel because the insurance was only worth 50 million.

It turned out of course that some guests had Mafia connections and others were equally likely to have been the targets of the fire.

Livia pointed out that Salvo is a creature of habit and suggested they went to a different restaurant but the food was so disgusting that they went to the usual restaurant afterwards.

The investigation carried on apace. Mr Custonaci was the arbiter between rival Mafiosa but apparently not the intended target despite the room he normally used being the seat of the fire.

The case was eventually resolved through a mixture of investigation, local knowledge and gossip but what we fans were really interested in was, what is going to happen to stop the wedding between Livia and Salvo? There are no hiccups we can see at the moment other than her having given up her career to be closer to him and her going back home to her hen night with her friends.

Will she be unfaithful when they are apart? Will he? Will she regret giving up a career for a quiet life in Vigata constantly waiting for Salvo to return?

Time will tell.

Rai webpage

Francois R.I.P.

So there we were, drinking our weekly glass of vino collapso watching Salvo crack his latest cases, all the while being confronted by women with problems getting clothing to cover up their cleavages and unlocking his front door despite his balcony being always open to let us see the sea.

Lulled by the familiarity of life in imaginary Vigàta and dreams of a Latin speaking Catarella, I didn’t quite see it coming.

I was too intrigued by Livia’s poor  unsynched dubbing to pay attention to the well telegraphed ominous tone of the episode – the sadness of Livia and Salvo being recognised when investigating Tunisians. I’d forgotten that Francois, the little Tunisian boy almost adopted by Livia and Salvo in the first episode was all grown up and in some sort of trouble. We’d met him briefly again 3 episodes earlier which had already aired the regrets of Montalbano and Livia as they spoke about how life would have been different if they had taken him in back then. The regrets of that episode will seem as nothing I suspect compared with the regrets to come.

Inspector Montalbano – Season 3 – Angelica’s Smile

1/4. Angelica’s Smile

A series of burglaries takes place at the houses of the wealthy. Montalbano suspects something more sinister. In Italian with English subtitles.

Montalbano returned tonight, older but still as headstrong with his inability to commit fully to Livia (different actress) and his head being turned by a pretty face – and let’s be honest a few other things on display. Livia had to leave to go back to Genoa as Italy in recession meant that her job was in jeopardy. Before she left she queried how different their lives would have been if they had just adopted Francois after his mother’s death 15 years previously. Very different we all shouted at the screen. Livia leaving allowed Montalbano to do what he does, fall in love with an attractive woman and hope against hope that she is not just toying with him so that she can escape detection.

Salvo remains obsessed by food and continues to be interrupted by emergencies whenever he eats or sleeps. Even the rich seem to have wallpaper which is marked by damp patches or plaster where paint should be and that certainly matches my impression of Italy – old, refined but in need of a little tlc. Catarella has discovered the joys of computer games, Mimi has discovered the joys of taking a few days off with his family and Francois broods, in much the same way he did when he was five.

A puppet show with the paladins of Charlemagne features strongly in this episode which must make more sense to a European audience but even although I used to teach European history it was a folk tale I was unfamiliar with.


Salvo Montalbano      Luca Zingaretti
Mimi’ Augello      Cesare Bocci
Fazio      Peppino Mazzotta
Catarella      Angelo Russo
Nicolo’ Zito      Roberto Nobile
Livia      Lina Perned
Angelica Cosulich      Margareth Made
Writer      Francesco Bruni
Writer     Andrea Camilleri
Writer      Leonardo Marini
Director     Alberto Sironi

Young Montalbano – New Year’s Eve

A man is shot dead in his hotel room on New Year’s Eve and Montalbano investigates. In Italian with English subtitles.

Young Montalbano has some of the same characters from the Montalbano original series but fills in the back story of how Salvo first came to Vigata, ended up in such a lovely house and why he has beautiful girlfriends but has never married.

This episode revolved around a deathbed confession which had to be investigated so that a wrong could be righted as a sub-plot, while the main investigation was about who had killed a hotel keeper’s husband if it wasn’t a stray bullet fired at New Year.

There were some nice touches to make us feel a sense of time like the Rubix cube, the clunky phones and the lack of seat-belts in cars. The star of the show remained, as always, the imaginary town of Vigata where Montalbano is too busy to properly pursue the woman of his dreams – no matter who he dreams of in each episode. It is almost guaranteed that the woman will be guilty of something or will tire of his work and go off with someone else over a few episodes. Personally I’d put up with it all, just to have that veranda to have my breakfast on.

Blog at

Up ↑