Some favourite passages from the Montalbano series

What an epiphany was it for me to enter the world of Inspector Salvo Montalbano, his ‘close friend’ Livia and also Ingrid, his subordinates: his second in command, Mimi Augello, the classy Fazio, and even Catarella, the bosses: the old commissioner who understood Montalbano and the new one who does not, the irascible Pasquano and so many others….. There are some passages when I really feel the Inspector is a kindred soul. Here are some of them…… All the page referrences are from the Picador editions.

Excursion to Tindari   (pg 121)

“You, Inspector, must be curious to know why I wanted to see you.”
“Is that all you know how to say: no?”
“To be honest, Mr Sinagra, I already know everything about you that might interest me as a cop. I’ve read all the dossiers on your case, even the ones that go back to before I was born. As a man, you don’t interest me at all.”
“So then why did you come?”
“Because I don’t rate myself so highly that I can say no to someone who asks to speak to me.”

The Shape of Water (pg 241)

“So you gave yourself a promotion eh?” asked Livia after a long pause. “From inspector to god – a fourth-rate god, but still a god.”

The Scent of the Night (pg 71)
“How about a cafe?”
“Are you kidding? People gossip too much about me as it is. Although with you, I guess, there wouldn’t be any danger of that.”
“Why not?”
“Because you’re old enough to be my father.”
It would have been better if she’d stabbed him. The car swerved slightly.
“Down and out for the count,” said the girl by way of commentary. “Its a strategy that often works to deflate ambitious old geezers”……

The Voice of the Violin

(pg 138)

He did’nt feel like hearing again this time from ~, that he absolutely had to take action. By what right? here’s your fearless, flawless knight in shining armour! Here’s your Robin Hood, your Zorro, your Night Avenger all in one: Salvo Montalbano.

(pg 224)

The inspector felt all his nerves tighten up like violin strings. If the Maestro had run his bow across him, a chord would have rung out.

The Snack Thief

(pg 247)

There comes a moment,  he thought when you realise your life has changed. But when did it happen, you ask yourself. And you have no answer. Unnoticed events kept accumulating until, one day, a transformation occurred – or perhaps they were perfectly visible events, whose importance and consequences, however, you never took into account. You ask yourself over and over, but the answer ‘when’ never comes. As if it mattered! Montalbano, for his part, had a precise answer to that question. My life changed, he would have said, on the twelfth of May. (Well, it could be the 10th of the month for me, or perhaps the 1st of December)

pg 279

….at this point, looked the inspector straight in the eye.
“When will you decide to grow up?”

Rounding the Mark

(pg 13)

After phoning, he felt the need for some sea air. Passing by the switchboard, he said to Catarella:
“Now run off and report to Inspector Augello.”
Catarella looked at him like a beaten dog.
“Why do you wanna insult me, Chief?”
Insult him. Everyone was feeling insulted by him, but he wasn’t allowed to feel insulted by anyone.

(pg 241-2)
“Well, Augello will command the squad, ’cause I am coming with you,” Fazio said, dryly.
Surprised at his tone, Mimi glared at him.
“No,” said Montalbano.
“Look, Chief – I -”
“No. This is a personal matter, Fazio.”
This time, Mimi glared at Montalbano who was glaring at Fazio, who was glaring right back. It looked like a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie, except that they were aiming their eyes instead of guns at each other.


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