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The Waters of Eternal Youth
Commissario Guido Brunetti #25
Donna Leon

Atlantic Monthly Press
March 8, 2016 / ISBN 978-0802124807
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / International Mystery & Crime

Reviewed by Rick Morelli


Donna Leon's The Waters of Eternal Youth is the latest installment of the Commissario Brunetti police procedural novels that take place in contemporary Venice. As with all her previous novels, Donna Leon presents a view of Venetian life that is different from the vision presented to tourists visiting Venice. In this glamorized tourist paradise, crime does occur and Guido Brunetti sets out to solve the crimes, while dealing with the realities of living and working in Venice today.

In this release, Brunetti is asked by a long time resident to investigate the suspicious death of her granddaughter some years ago. Typical of the Brunetti novels by Leon, the crime is rarely the focal point of the narrative. Her novels depict how Brunetti deftly navigates the politics of his police department and the city as he works to solve the crime, while remaining a committed and loving husband and father.

What I enjoy most about Donna Leon's novels is that she brings to life a Venice that hums with a daily rhythm not usually seen by tourists. The regional nuances of living and working in Venice are described with details that reveal Leon's deep knowledge and appreciation of Venice, creating for the reader a unique Italian urban treasure.

Donna Leon's novels are character driven, so regular and new readers to these novels are regaled with Venetian life through her characters. Brunetti takes the reader through the alleys, the many palazzos and piazzas, and cafes of Venice as he works his way around Venice and the adjacent towns to solve the crime. Donna Leon's descriptions became real and immediate, making the sounds, smells and cuisine of Venice come alive for me, creating a variable treat to the senses that set this and all her novels apart from the typical contemporary crime novels.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Death At La Fenice #1
Death and Judgment #4
Drawing Conclusions #20
Beastly Things #21
The Golden Egg #22
By Its Cover #23
The Waters of Eternal Youth #25

Earthly Remains #26

Reviewed 2016