(Book 18 in the Guido Brunetti series)
This novel follows a pattern I have noticed in some of Leon's novels. The first murder occurs about mid-way in the novel. Up to that point, a minor plot, has been developed which later merges with the plot dealing with the murder investigation. The violence usually has to do with some aspect of Venetian political life. In this story the Mafia, disposal of garbage, and polluted waters fill that purpose. Throughout, the story is peppered with Venetian descriptions as Leon has Brunetti walk around Venice notably in the Dorsodura district where he meets his contacts in the main campo, enjoys an ice cream nearby, visits his in-laws, and hears the bells of its various churches. Similarly, the blocks around Brunetti's office, the Questra, are described - particularly the coffee shops and the San Lorenzo church. Some of the action even occurs in the casino and Brunetti has many rides in the police launch up and down the canals. These descriptions are also enjoyable for readers, more so perhaps, I would imagine, if one has visited Venice. The storytelling is low-key just like investigations perhaps are in Venice. An enjoyable read which brings together many factors - a likable detective, minimal violence, and a realistic plot set in intriguing Venice.
One of Leon's best, and one of Brunetti's best. (Spoiler here is included in the Publisher's Weekly review.) He faces the environmental disasters of Italy in general, and Venice in particular. He also deals with Italy's corruption, both political and personal. His father-in-law asks his advice (usually it's the other way around) when a rich man wants him to invest in garbage hauling. Murder ensues. Brunetti must also deal with the man's beautiful trophy wife, whose face lift went disastrously wrong. Not only does he have a complicated case to solve, but moral issues involve his family.
Interesting story! Well-written!
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