This episode of the detective series is one of the best, as it avoids any unnecessary digressions and concentrates solely on the plot. Catarella (Angelo Russo) takes a back seat; instead the focus of attention centers on Montalbano's (Luca Zingaretti) attempts to solve the mysterious murder of an old man, which leads him into a complicated plot involving the Mafia, a superannuated shepherd and a vamp (Barbara Tabita) with a marked propensity for attracting men through a Monroe-esque walk, wiggling her hips as she passes them.
Needless to say Montalbano remains resistant to her charms - even though he looks, he doesn't necessarily react - but Mimi (Cesare Bocci) becomes more directly involved under the pretext of trying to catch the lady's husband, a notorious swindler. While he succeeds in the end, he remains bewitched by the lady; director Alberto Sironi leaves us consciously in the dark as to whether they slept together or not.
This episode makes intelligent use of the Sicilian landscapes; the cramped streets, where people's houses are necessarily squashed together; the ancient stonewashed mansions with plenty of hideouts for prospective criminals; and the mist-capped peaks outside Vigata, where Montalbano encounters the shepherd tending his sheep, as well as finding yet another murder victim. Despite its superficial charms, we are made aware of just how sinister an environment Montalbano inhabits, where crime is rife and a good police officer is vitally required.
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