The Snack Thief, from the book of the same name, offers something missing from the TV versions of The Shape of Water and The Terra-Cotta Dog: Montalbano dining at the Trattoria San Calogero. I'd wondered if the director had dispensed with such scenes as part of the trimming necessary when adapting a book. But a short scene at the San Calogero about a quarter of the way through this episode has all the easy intimacy and food-loving joy of the books.
One minus: Television is less able than books to supply information for a gastronomic illiterate like me, and I can't always tell what Luca Zingaretti, as Montalbano, is eating on screen. One plus: Perhaps better than books, television can convey the pleasure that Montalbano takes in his food even when eating alone.
And a simple slip of the sheets in one of her scenes highlights a difference between Italy and America. Livia and Montalbano are talking in bed, and they are fully awake as they do so. That means they're sitting up rather than lying down, and that means none of that nonsense one gets on American television with the woman pulling the sheets up to cover herself.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010