As I close this book there are a handful of reviews here which all have something relevant to say. Among the disappointed are those who complain of slow pace and a plot which is often virtually static. True, but they bought the wrong book. Donna Leon doesn't aspire to write another Italian Job; she is, as others have observed, interested in moral issues, in personal relationships, in truth and justice and corruption. For example, she can deal perceptively with the fur trade in a couple of paragraphs, leave the reader thoughtful before turning the page. Her novels tend to have texture rather than line, and it is easy to believe that to be true of police work.
Devotees may regret that in A Noble Radiance there is less of Venice itself than in the earlier books, but that is compensated by further insights into the character or the Brunetti family. They feel more and more like real people who cook, worry about children, squabble and make up within the context of a family whose lives are touched by the Commissario's often unpleasant job.
Plotwise, the noble Lorenzoni's push the boundaries of credibility but just about survive. The coincidence of the role played by Brunetti's brother is crucial and artfully planted early; many a mystery story has relied on the device but it leaves a faint feeling of cheating. And not for the first time, Signorina Ellettra, with her contacts and her computer, proves to be the most capable detective in the Questura. But she is a secretary - and one whose generous disposal of public funds at the florists might one day merit a thought or two from Brunetti himself.
A Noble Radiance is a good book which, read with the right expectations, will entertain and provoke.