I am at that stage in my binge-reading of the wonderful Commissario Brunetti’s series when I need to slow down.
In no time at all, I’ve reached the end of the 16th in this stunning series of detective novels set in Venice, and – yet again – I close the book with a sigh of enjoyment, mingled with sadness at another book being finished, and with unbridled admiration for Ms Leon.
In every one of these novels, Venice is there, centre-stage, a stunning backdrop for the crimes that the sensitive, family-loving Commissario must solve. In every book – and they are all total stand-alone novels, by the way – Ms Leon manages to highlight a different aspect of the city, so even though we see the city and the canals and the churches in all her books, we always see them through a different prism.
The central characters are all here, yet again, thank goodness.
The Commissario, a good man, if ever there was one. Thoughtful, loving, honest. In love with his family and his city.
His delightful wife Paola.
His children, Raffi and Chiara, who have grown up before our eyes, as it were, over the course of the books. The children appear in this 16th book, as usual, around the family dinner table, but they also appear in a different way. Commissario Brunetti is investigating a racket in the city concerning adopted babies, and every time he has a sad or a disturbing encounter involving babies, unwanted or otherwise, he remembers his own children when they were babies and toddlers, his fierce, unqualified love for them so wonderfully obvious.
The loyal Viannello is at the Commissario’s side, as is the fabulous Signorina Elettra, always glamorous and always delving deep into the computers of the city’s municipal services, banks, government offices -wherever she can mine information for Brunetti and Vianello. The latter has, over the course of the years (well, the novels!) familiarised himself with computers and the internet, so he can fully appreciate Elettra’s skills. Brunetti remains something of a Luddite where computers are concerned and, more over, prefers not to ask too many questions as to where exactly the young lady gets the invaluable information she finds.
The venal Vice-Questore Patta is, as ever, more concerned by appearances than solving crimes.
We enjoy the wine that invariably accompanies the happy family meals that are so important for Guido Brunetti. We savour the food with them. We listen to the children chat about school. We are part of a Venetian family, in other words.
Another wonderful instalment in this engrossing series.
Should you wish to buy the book now, it couldn’t be simpler. Here’s the link to Amazon.