Commissario Brunetti becomes involved in a complex story of death and deception when he is called to see a dying woman in a Venetian hospice in Donna Leon’s 29th mystery featuring this quiet, family man who reads the Greek and Roman classics while trying to avoid the cynicism that is a part of being a policeman in today’s Italy. The book has the familiar Leon characteristics, primarily the fact that the murder occurs offstage and in the past, and the main focus is on Brunetti’s musings and the magic computer work of Signorina Elettra, the most fascinating character in this series. The story itself is rather thin—a woman’s dying words suggest that her husband was murdered, and Brunetti and his associate, the lovely Commissario Griffoni from Naples embark on what looks like a fruitless search. They, of course, are successful in bringing the murderer to justice but there are some loose ends along the way that confused me. Did Leon plant the seeds for a future book or did she just forget about the Rom pickpockets and Lieutenant Scarpa? Whatever. The book is good quick fun at this time of fear and plague and the best part was following Brunetti around Venice on Google Maps recalling the vaporetto #’s, the small streets, the campos, and the bridges from our trip last Fall. Seems like ages ago.
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