At a dinner party given by his parents-in-law, Commissario Brunetti meets Franca Marinello, the wife of a prosperous Venetian businessman. He's charmed - perhaps too charmed, suggests his wife Paola - by her love of Virgil and Cicero, but shocked by her appearance. A few days later, Brunetti is visited by Carabinieri Maggior Filippo Guarino from ...
At a dinner party given by his parents-in-law, Commissario Brunetti meets Franca Marinello, the wife of a prosperous Venetian businessman. He's charmed - perhaps too charmed, suggests his wife Paola - by her love of Virgil and Cicero, but shocked by her appearance. A few days later, Brunetti is visited by Carabinieri Maggior Filippo Guarino from the nearby city of Marghera. As part of a wider investigation into Mafia takeovers of businesses in the region, Guarino wants information about the owner of a trucking company who was found murdered in his office. He believes the man's death is connected to the illegal transportation of refuse - and more sinister material - in his company's trucks. No stranger to mutual suspicion and competition between rival Italian police departments, Brunetti is nevertheless puzzled by the younger man's paranoid behaviour. Eventually Guarino agrees to email a photo of his suspect, but by the time the photograph arrives, he himself is dead. Was he killed because he got too close? And why is it that Franca Marinello has often been seen in company of the suspect, a vulgar man with Mafia connections and a violent past? Donna Leon's new novel is as subtle, gripping and topical as ever, bringing the sights, sounds and smells of Venice flooding to life.
New in New dust jacket. 0802118968. Map on endpapers.; A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery; 272 pages; At the request of a carabiniere investigator, Commissario Guido Brunetti looks into illegal garbage hauling that has resulted in a murder, while Brunetti's father-in-law asks him to investigate a potential business partner with a mysterious wife.
This story seems to have been snatched from recent headlines; it is about women who have plastic surgery; Italian political corruption and what to do with trash when all of Europe's landfills are full. Of course, readers are also allowed a glimpse into the home life of a Venetian family (Guido Brunetti).
There's a lot going on in this book; political corruption seems to be a constant in Italian life. With that in the background, the other two themes play out their stories. Commissario Guido Brunetti and his wife are invited to a dinner at his parents-in-law's home. Brunetti is seated across from a very interesting woman with a scarred face. Everyone who sees her think it is plastic surgery gone bad' -- most also think she is too young to have gone under the knife (she's in her mid-thirties).
The woman's much older husband asks Brunetti's father-in-law to go into partnership with him. Then, Brunetti's father-in-law asks him to casually look into this prospective business partner's background.
Solutions for handling trash (regular, medical, nuclear, etc.) are a growing problem in Italy. I learned a great deal about what countries are doing now and it is not a pretty picture. Although the potential business partner says he is in the transportation business, Brunetti soon learns that he is transporting trash to third world countries.
I found this to be a believable and fascinating -- story. This is the 18th story and I don't recommend someone start with this one. Leon's style is interesting; she doesn't explain any of the back stories of secondary characters. But her regular readers know about them as they have been introduced.
1. Death at La Fenice (1992)
2. Death in a Strange Country (1993)
3. The Anonymous Venetian (1994) aka Dressed for Death
4. A Venetian Reckoning (1995) aka Death and Judgment
5. Acqua Alta (1996) aka Death in High Water
6. The Death of Faith (1997) aka Quietly in Their Sleep
7. A Noble Radiance (1997)
8. Fatal Remedies (1998)
9. Friends in High Places (1999) Dagger Awards Best Novel nominee (2000): Friends in High Places
10. A Sea of Troubles (2001)
11. Willful Behaviour (2002)
12. Uniform Justice (2003)
13. Doctored Evidence (2004)
14. Blood from a Stone (2005)
15. Through a Glass Darkly (2006)
16. Suffer the Little Children (2007)
17. The Girl of His Dreams (2008)
18. About Face (2009)
May 14, 2009
Another Venetian treat!
Very few authors are able to make their readers feel so closely connected with story and characters as Ms. Leon does. Every adventure is warm, funny and exciting, providing good (and often unorthodox!) police work in a wonderful city that both charms and frustrates. I can't imagine any writer could achieve higher marks than these. Thank you, Ms. Leon.
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