Commissario Montalbano


Penna a sfera 1

Previous Bleistift blog posts have shown examples of fictional Sicilian detective Inspector Montalbano using Staedtler’s Noris pencil.

Episode: The Safety Net (Image © RAI)

As it turns out, he is also happy to use the Noris stick ballpoint pen, as can be seen in the picture above, taken from the last episode of 2020: The Safety Net (original title: La rete di protezione).

The Noris stick seems to be particularly popular in Italy. Here are some photos from a tv ad campaign

Unfortunately, this pen are not very common in the UK. I assume its speciality is the long brass point, which should make it easy to have a better view of what you are writing.

The information from this blog post has been added to the Noris in the Wild collection.


The images in this blog post have been taken from the RAI TV series Il commissario Montalbano and from Italian TV ads for the Noris stick. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Pencils – unsharpened and hyper acute

When looking at pencil points there are all sorts of angles you could sharpen a pencil to.

I guess an angle of 180°, i.e. an unsharpened pencil is as low as you could go – unless you want an angle > 180°.

Here’s a photo of an unsharpened pencil, seen in Season 10 of Inspector Montalbano (Il commissario Montalbano), between the two eraser-tipped Noris pencils. You can see his other pencils in this blog post from 2012. Where they got an unsharpened Noris from is a mystery to me. Maybe they removed the pencil point of a factory sharpened pencil?

Episode: A Delicate Matter (Image © RAI)

On the other hand you have pencil like the ones from Pencil Guide that seem to have an angle of 6.8°1 (for comparison: the KUM Masterpiece has an angle of 15°). They look deadly.

Gunther explains:

If you create a point with an angle of 6.8° (cone angle 3.4°) on a pencil with a diameter of 8 mm you expose the wood at a length of approximately 67.6 mm. This length and the pencil’s length are in a ratio of approx. 1:1.618.

1:1.618 is the golden ration.

Pencil Guide calls itself a pencil sharpening service company, but they only sell sharpened pencils and don’t follow David Rees’ business model.

(Image © Pencilguide.com)


I would like to thank Jun-Haeng Lee for the information about Pencil Guide.

The images in this blog post have been taken from Pencil Guide and from episode A Delicate Matter of the RAI TV series Il commissario Montalbano. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. Thanks to Sola and Gunther I now think the angle might be 6.8°. []

La Matita 5

Episode: Le Ali della Sfinge / The Wings of the Sphinx (Image © RAI)

Commissario Montalbano, the famous detective from Sicily, is a keen user of the Staedtler Noris1. Even though he’s driving around in an old Fiat Tipo his home is fantastic and is furnished and and decorated with classic and vintage bits and bobs, just like the grand homes of the criminals he is visiting. The Noris is a suitable pencil for him to use as it is the archetypal European pencil – even though it is a surprising choice as it is clearly a branded item.

Episode: La Pista di Sabbia / The Track of Sand (Image © RAI)

PS: Does anyone know what those cards / brochures / journals are that most civil servants in this TV series seem to have pinned to their walls.


The images in this blog post have been taken from Episode Le Ali della Sfinge / The Wings of the Sphinx and episode La Pista di Sabbia / The Track of Sand of the RAI TV series Il commissario Montalbano. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. with and without eraser tip []