I am a recent convert to the wonderful Commissario Brunetti series of books by Donna Leon, and am devouring them almost too quickly, if that makes sense.

Instead of taking them at a measured pace, I’m binge-reading these novels, and loving every minute of it!

In “A Sea of Troubles”, the 10th book in the series, Ms Leon yet again demonstrates not only her consummate skill as a writer of crime fiction, but also her deep love for and intimate knowledge of Venice.  The city is not simply a background for the novels, but an intrinsic part of the stories.  And what I love is discovering new places through Ms Leon’s writing.

Like the island of Pellestrina, which is the setting for this very dramatic and almost threatening story.  There is an air of menace hanging over this small island of fishermen from the first moments of the story, and Ms Leon manages to build the mounting tension with consummate skill, weaving murders and secrets together as we watch the kindly and thoughtful Commissario Brunetti head out to the island to investigate the deaths of 2 fishermen.

What he discovers is a people reluctant to speak to outsiders, villagers who are taciturn at best, sullen at worst, and who close ranks, despite the gut feeling the Commissario has, that no-one in the village actually cares that much about the deaths.  But there is a code of silence that they refuse to break.

I won’t spoil the story for you by divulging the plot – that would be grossly unfair – but suffice it to say that we are in the company of the usual core characters from the previous 9 novels whom we have come to love.

The Commissario, his feisty wife Paola, their squabbling, teenage children Chiara & Raffi, the good Vianello, Brunetti’s loyal and dependable assistant.  The Vice-Questore, the self-centred Patta, is absent for this novel, which allows his wonderfully delightful secretary, the gorgeous Signorina Elettra, to assume a different role in this book.

A terrible storm and a love affair, add to the un-put-down-able mix of this smashing book.

Absolutely recommended.

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