Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery #20
Atlantic Monthly Press
20 11 / ISBN 0802119794
Police Procedurals / Italy /Contemporary
by L J Roberts
First Sentence: Because she had worked for decades as a translator
of fiction and non-fiction from English and German to Italian, Anna
Maria Giusti was familiar with a wide range of subjects.
When a woman finds the body of her neighbor, Comm. Guido Brunetti
is called to the scene. The medical examiner pronounces the cause
of death to be a heart attack, but Brunetti has questions created
by the blood from a wound on the victim’s head and a bruise
near her throat. A search for the truth leads Guido to a home for
the elderly, but it takes the assistance of Insp. Vianello and the
talented Signorina Electtra to learn the truth surrounding the victim’s
life and death.
There are many reasons to love Ms. Leon’s books. From the
very first page, you are drawn into the story with no desire to
leave it until the final line.
Leon creates such a definitive sense of place you feel you are by
The love both the author, and thus the character, have for Venice
is apparent yet not idealized. They are aware of the flaws and decay
which surrounds them, while realizing the irony of the city’s
physical decay adding to its perceived charm. Her description of
meals always leaves me hungry.
Brunetti’s relationship with Paola creates a solid core to
both Brunitti’s character and the story. The dialogues between
them bespeak a long marriage between two people who love, respect
and understand one another as often exemplified by the humor in
their conversations. One characteristic which makes Brunetti such
a good policeman is that he accepts the possibility of “less
tangible phenomenon.” In this case, it is feeling the “traces
of a troubled death” in the victim’s apartment that
causes him to investigate further in spite of the examiner declaring
the cause to be a natural death. Including
such details as Brunetti’s view of faith adds to our understanding
of the character.
The somewhat enigmatic Signorina Elettra Zorzi is brilliant and
clever and someone from whom no information is safe. You also feel
she would be a dangerous person to annoy as her revenge would be
subtle yet effective. Leon does not slight the supporting characters
either. Even the most minor player is fully developed and memorable.
Even the strongest opening, the most evocative sense of place,
and the most natural dialogue can’t support a book without
a compelling plot. No worries here. There are interesting observations
on the differences between Italians from the North and South as
well as a fascinating insight of battered women and the private
system of safe houses to protect them. There are intriguing ethical
and legal questions to make you think. And there are truths; some
simple, but truths nonetheless, about that which is really important
and the lengths to which one will go to protect it.
If you’re looking for car chases and fist fights; look elsewhere.
“Drawing Conclusions” is a wonderfully written book
that will stay with you after closing the cover.
of other titles in this series
At La Fenice #1
and Judgment #4
Golden Egg #22
Its Cover #23
Waters of Eternal Youth #25