It's not that Venetians are unaccustomed to discovering a body in and about one of its many canalas, but when this particular body is found to be that of the director of a local, influential, bank, eyebrows and curiosity are raised. And even more so when this body is presented as a transvestite prostitute! All Venice is in an uproar!
Donna Leon returns triumphantly in another of her brilliant Commissario Guido Brunetti episodes, and the reader is not left for one second in anything but gripping suspense. Leon, an American writer who is enjoying incredible success at writing police procedurals set in Italy, presents "the Pearl of the Adriatic" in more than all its glory. With Brunetti, she explores not only its grandeur but reveals the city's mud as well.
Just as the body is not as it seems, Brunetti finds that there is even more deception to come. Two more bodies are found that are related to this case, and the author examines more than just police procedures here, as she seems to do in all of her novels. The various aspects of Venetian life are examined, the corruption of government officials, the criminal activities (covering a wide range of subjects from drugs to illecit sex trade), and, of course, the personal lives of her central characters. She has a great knack for character presentation that make them more than just "interesting and lovable"! I have found few authors who do so with such dedication and thoroughness.
Leon, who lives in Italy, certainly seems to know her subjects well, beginning with the first Brunetti novel, "Death at La Fenice." None of her books should be missed, not simply because she has a glorious setting, or fantastic characters, or plots that are convincing, but simply because she is a good read!