Andrea Camilleri, who died in Rome at 93 last month, often grumbled that he was being monstered by the success of his great creation, Commissario Salvo Montalbano, top cop in the not-quite fictitious port of Vigata in Sicily.
In twenty-seven novellas and a clutch of short stories, and as many films for television, Montalbano has become one of the great detectives of world literature. His fame can match that of Sherlock Homes, who also came to annoy his creator with his fame, and Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.
The films are a brilliant collaboration of author and actors in beautifully theatrical tragi-comic scenarios in which plot often seems hardly to matter. Equal star billing must go to the setting, not only the vistas of Sicily old and new – and especially in the baroque architecture of Ragusa and Syracuse – but in the references to Sicilian tradition, language and culture, good and bad.