On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a man is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death - fake handbags of every designer label. Officially termed a venditore ambulante or extracomunitario, the dead man was working as a vu ...
On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a man is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death - fake handbags of every designer label. Officially termed a venditore ambulante or extracomunitario, the dead man was working as a vu cumpra, one of the many Black Africans purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits. Arriving on the scene, Commissario Brunetti's response matches that of everybody involved: why would anyone kill a vu cumpra? With few social connections and little money, in-fighting amongst these workers is the obvious answer. But once Brunetti begins investigating this Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake within the immigrant society. Warned by Patta, his superior, to resist further involvement in the case, Brunetti only becomes more determined to unearth the truth behind this mysterious killing. However, reluctant as he is to let this event be smugly relegated to the category of 'not worth dealing with', how far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture of Venice's illegal community?
Although I love Donna Leon's Brunetti stories, this one took considerable time to unwind. The problem seems clear enough ? a young, illegal Senegalese street peddler is professionally murdered in the streets of Venice, in front of dozens of tourists.
Commissario Brunetti starts to investigate the murder when he gets opposition from his superior ? Vice-Questore Patta seriously opposes this investigation. As he continues to investigate, he realizes this isn't just about the death of a single street peddler.
One of the most interesting parts of this particular story was Brunetti's coming to realize that he could personally be in danger by investigating this murder. When an old friend of his father's (a noted jewel merchant), tries to help Guido get info and is followed, Brunetti realizes he is putting people he cares about in jeopardy.
Guido's family is here and they often add a bit of humor to a deadly serious story. They also show Guido to be a caring, compassionate human ? not just a bloodhound on the trail of murder. Once the reader sees that serious danger is involved, it raises the ante on Guido's need to find the truth.
Guido Brunetti Series
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 (1999)
9. Friends in High Places (2000)
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)
Jul 7, 2011
Lowkey Italian Police Procedural
This book starts out very slowly but can quickly reel you in and get you involved with the story. It gave us several good subjects for discussion in our book group.
Apr 10, 2009
The theme is now familiar, but Donna Leon makes it personal for Commissair Guido Brunetti as he endures corruption and futility to solve the mystery of the murder of an outsider who is never really identified.
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