The Young Montalbano: Volume 2

It has been over three years since the first season of this brilliant Italian crime drama was made available, but the wait has been worth it. This new series was supervised by the writer of the original books, Andrea Camilleri, and continues to explore the origins of the man we have come to know simply as ‘Montalbano’. It also gives us some insight into the Sicilian police detective’s relationships with his co-workers, his love of food, his love-life and his continuing lack of patience with life and people in general.

Episode One begins with a murder (of course!) but what takes centre stage is his relationship with his girlfriend, Livia. While dealing with numerous low-lifes, simpletons, unreliable witnesses and, of course, the mafia, he also has to deal with an unexpected, though pleasant, arrival: Livia. Without giving too much away, the first episode ends with a proposal (of sorts), a bus departing and second thoughts, all within the space of a minute or so. Hysterical!

From then on we get more of the usual excellent fare of mysteries to solve, but the dynamics between Montalbano and Livia, and especially between Montalbano and his best friend and second-in-charge, Mimi, make for humorous interludes beyond the life of a cop in Vigata, Sicily. Michele Riondino gives us a wonderful performance as the prickly Montalbano and, along with a great cast, leaves us wanting more – more of Sicily, more great food and more episodes of this brilliant crime drama.

Lou Fulco works as a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.