Customer Review

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4.0 out of 5 stars Deadly heat, deadly fraud, deadly closets--Venice in summer, 12 Nov. 2011
This review is from: A Question of Belief: (Brunetti 19) (Paperback)
A clever Commissario Brunetti mystery with some edge and more than a little seasonable realism about the great Italian tourist mecca. Whlle Venice sweats out a torrid summer and its more practical citizens evacuate to cooler climes, crime, passion and bad behavior party on in the city. Bad news for Guido Brunetti, who must forego two weeks cooling off in the Italian Alps when passion becomes murder as a respectable and respected civil servant is found murdered. Meanwhile, Inspector Vianello's beloved Aunt Anita is apparently being fleeced by a soothsayer, distressing the Inspector and Brunetti, who feels his colleague's pain. So, much for unfortunate stay-behinds to do in an environment that author Leon has vividly presented as intolerably unpleasant and where every twitch of the body causes a torrent of sweat. Even the coolest (in all ways) character of all, the inestimable Signorina Elettra, is looking a little dewy.

With the Brunetti family out of the immediate picture, "A Question of Belief", has a higher quotient of police procedural work than some other Leon stories, which works very well as a change. The focus is on the two unrelated crimes that need sorting and this inevitably leads to some very engaging character portraits and stories of human behavior and tragedy that author Leon is skilled at telling. To be sure, the story includes a backdrop of venality, governmental inefficiency and lack of accountability that the author confronts--through Brunetti and family/colleagues--in every book of this terrific series. All of this is related with great wit, humor and credibility by a writer who is unusually well-connected to her characters and her adopted city. And best of all, respects her readers.

Kind of a footnote here--there were several times while I was reading this book that I would have liked to asked author Leon what was up with a seeming preoccupation with the tramezzini that appear several times in the story, in detail. Was she fantasizing about these snacks while pulling an all-nighter with the book? It caused me to head for the nearest Italian restaurant here in northwest Washington in the middle of the novel. A great sacrifice to connect with art.
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