As Commissario Guido Brunetti watches his mother buried, he takes some solace in the cloud dappled sky, the tops of the Venetian cypress trees, moving gently in the spring breezes. As ever, his wife Paola is at his side. 'There's nothing to remember about her except the good', she says. And that, thinks Brunetti, is exactly right. But then a ten ...
As Commissario Guido Brunetti watches his mother buried, he takes some solace in the cloud dappled sky, the tops of the Venetian cypress trees, moving gently in the spring breezes. As ever, his wife Paola is at his side. 'There's nothing to remember about her except the good', she says. And that, thinks Brunetti, is exactly right. But then a ten-year-old gypsy girl, Ariana, is found dead in the canal, in possession of a man's watch and wedding ring, and pathologist Pucetti further reports that she was suffering from the effects of a sexually transmitted disease. On the paving stones, Ariana looks for a moment like a fairy tale princess, a halo of tangled golden hair radiating out from her sleeping face - a face that Brunetti begins to see in his dreams. To investigate Brunetti infiltrates the community of gypsies, or 'Rom', in official police parlance, living in camps out near the Dolo. But there's nothing official about the young Rom children sent to rob rich Venetian homes, and Brunetti struggles with institutional prejudice, the entrenched bureaucracy of expedience, and his own troubled conscience, as he tries to understand...
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This is a fascinating story of the European prejudice against gypsies. Guido Brunetti and Inspector Vianello answer a 911 call and find a blond child with light eyes in a side canal of Venice. They have no idea who she was and no parent has reported her missing.
The child has some jewelry in her possession and Brunetti tries to determine her name through the watch and ring. As the days tick by, Brunetti becomes more concerned that no parents have come forward. Finally, he finds her name through information on child crimes. She is the third child of a gypsy family, who are camped on the mainland.
The solution highlights the reality of Italian politics and prejudices. This is not a 'Leave it to Beaver' kind of ending. However, it is certainly thought provoking.
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