I liked this book even more than Death at La Fenice or Death in a Strange Country. Brunetti, his colleagues, his family, each with their rituals and routines are strongly personalized and simpatico (yes, even Patta). So what if the story develops slowly, the city and its denizens are flavorful and enjoyable like a good liqueur, to be sipped. And no, I was not smart enough to guess the denouement before the end of the book.
Book 22 in the Guido Brunetti series
Leon, Donna. The Golden Egg (Grove Press 2013). This is another book by the author (the first for me) of a series of mysteries solved by Commissario Guido Brunetti, an aging Venetian detective. A professional book reviewer in a woman’s magazine led me to this volume despite the fact that the reviewer panned The Golden Egg as yet another, tired installment of Brunetti’s gumshoe performance. I couldn’t disagree more.
I found Leon’s construction of Brunetti’s sixth-sense of the people he engages in his every day investigations, including his relationship with his wife, quite convincing. His ability to penetrate his interlocutor man or woman with ease and guilelessness kept me turning the pages admiring Leon’s writing ability at the same time. I couldn't help but notice that her phrasing at certain moments reflects her Italian-English, a big leap I make since I’m only guessing she’s Italian or Italian American.
I do note that in my hoping to learn something about Venice at the same time I was reading a detective’s tale, the author kept that dimension limited somewhat. Even so, I learned (although I can only assume it’s true) that the government of Venice retains an awful lot of personal files because Brunetti and his assistant sleuths were able to access a considerable amount of facts with a few clicks on the victim in the story and others who knew him. Leon has made Brunetti her life’s work, it seems, most probably based on a close observation of the people of Venice.
This was a great read! As with each book in this series, I quickly and happily settled into the familiar characters, setting and images. The plot is slow-moving and focuses more on the characters and what motivates people in general. There are some great one-liners: "And I think you should bear in mind that most people don't change as they go through life, and as life goes through them."
This really was not the book for me. I finished it, as I'd promised a friend I would! So slow and very old fashioned. I cannot imagine a real policeman in any country acting in such a cerebral manner. There is so much "thinking' going on. He never seems to ask any real questions of his witnesses, but wonders afterwards if he should have asked something. Not sure I'd want him on a case my life depended on. The conclusion is no surprise--thought it was that character from the start. So no skillful plot designing here. Author's voice intrudes often. Can't imagine detective Brunetti really would interject thoughts more appropriate for an older woman. Such a focus on blood relationships, too, feeling the need to clarify if someone was your birth father or adopted father seems so outdated in today's age. Have visited Italy often and did not even get the flavour of today's country. Disappointing.
I love this series, but this was not one of the best.
Enjoyed Donna Leon's Brunetti series once again. Such a great background in Italy.
A 40-something neighborhood deaf mute dies from what looks like an overdose of sleeping pills. Brunetti can't find any record of his existence. Has a crime been committed or not?
Donna Leon's Brunetti is a great character. If I ever get to Venice, I'd love to meet him. Leon's mysteries never fail to please.
I'm giving up on Donna Leo . She extremely cynical and Disparaging of the Italian judicial system; Makes me very uninterested and visiting Italy. and this was a really sad book. I've read all of her books but this will be the last one
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