Stephen Sartarelli

Inspector Montalbano

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A very strange thing happened to me in August.

As long-time readers of Taking The Short View will know, I have a particular liking for BBC4’s Saturday evening subtitled Euro-noir slot. Ever since the breakthrough appearance of the original Swedish Wallander shows in 2008, through the highs of Forbrydelsen, The Bridge and Borgen and on to the more varied and far-flung fare such as Mammon, Salamander, Corden and even the distinctly non-subtitled, non-Euro The Code I’ve been a fan of them all. With one singular exception to the rule in the form of the Italian entry to the line-up, Inspector Montalbano, which I’ve never been able to get into and enjoy. Try as I might, I’ve never got further in than ten minutes before throwing my hands up in surrender and finding something else to do with my Saturday nights instead.

And I really have tried. Albert Einstein once said that a definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and that must mean I’ve proven myself pretty crazy since that’s exactly what I did: every time BBC4 would start a new run of Montalbano stories I’d sit down and give it another try, and sure enough I had the same failure to launch on each occasion. It simply wasn’t going to happen, and yet still I stubbornly persisted in at least giving it a try – because, y’know, sometimes mad things do happen, right? So it came to pass that I sat down for my traditional ‘give it another go’ when BBC4 reran the six episodes of the Montalbano prequel miniseries in August, fully expecting the same crash and burn to ensue as usual.

And then the strange thing happened… Read the rest of this entry »