A sudden act of vandalism had just been committed in the chill Venetian dawn. But Commissario Guido Brunetti soon finds out that the perpetrator is ...Show synopsisA sudden act of vandalism had just been committed in the chill Venetian dawn. But Commissario Guido Brunetti soon finds out that the perpetrator is no petty criminal. For the culprit waiting to be apprehended at the scene of the crime is none other than Paola Brunetti, his wife. As Paola's actions provoke a crisis in the Brunetti household, Brunetti himself is under increasing pressure at work: a daring robbery with Mafia connections is linked to a suspicious death and his superiors need quick results. As his professional and personal lives clash, Brunetti's own career is under threat - and the conspiracy which Paola had risked everything to expose draws him inexorably to the brink ...Hide synopsis
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Donna Leon is one of my favorite novelists; she has a lock on the atmosphere and culture of Venice. All of her novels are located in this wonderful city and often Venice is one of the characters. In this book, however, Venice moves into the background and Guido Brunetti?s wife, Paola steps into the limelight.
Guido is a calm force and Paola is a hurricane. She feels things deeply and is horrified by government negligence and/or corruption around her. This time, Paola has a new cause; some factions of the Italian travel industry have created tours where men can ?rape children? in Third World countries. Paola decides to take a stand; she tosses a rock at the large, plate glass window of one of the worst Venice travel companies (a substantial part of their business is in these sex tours).
Thus begins a story in which Paola gets to see the inside of the police business. Her actions endanger her freedom and her husband?s career. Still, she goes forward. However, when a murder takes place ? killing the owner of that sex tour business, Paola has to reassess her actions.
Stupid Vice-Questore Patta and his secretary, Signorina Elettra provide much of the humor in these stories; Patta is Guido?s boss. Signorina Elettra?s take on Bingo (played during the Vice-Questore?s never-ending meetings) is not to be missed!
Donna Leon has lived in Venice for many years and she obviously loves the place and people. However, she has no problem sharing some of the incongruities of the country. She shows that the Italian government moves slowly ? if at all. It?s nice to see that other countries have problems too.
I think the reason I love these stories is that they remind me of American life in the 1950?s. The spouses really talk to each other; parents see their role in molding their children?s character by interacting with them (not sending them to watch TV). Guido?s home is the family?s refuge from the chaos outside their apartment.
Another thing I enjoy is the insider?s look at the Venetians as they eat, live and die. This is a great way to learn about another language, culture and cuisine without leaving your chair!
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