The Temptation of Forgiveness, Donna Leon 2018
In this her 32nd Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery, Leon once again has us traveling through the narrow streets, crossing over bridges, and taking vaporettos on the canals in Venice. As in most of these stories, there’s no gunfire, no real violence, and not even a dead body, but Brunetti has many opportunities to muse philosophical and think about the human frailty that fills his daily work. As a policeman who reads Antigone and uses the word ‘metonym’, Brunetti spends most of his time sorting out the complex motivations that lead his suspects to act badly rather than shooting them or beating them up. In this case, a crooked pharmacist and physician join forces to defraud elderly patients with dementia or Parkinsons. When the nephew of one of the patients discovers the scheme and threatens to expose them, bad things happen. Brunetti solves the case by listening, thinking, and relying on Signorina Elettra’s computer digging. Leon’s books are most reminiscent of Simenon’s Maigret series, another detective who prefers to solve crimes by understanding the people who are involved, both victims and perpetrators. I prefer Maigret, perhaps because I know Paris and not Venice.