As Commissario Guido Brunetti watches his mother buried, he takes some solace in the cloud dappled sky, and the tops of the Venretian cypress trees, moving gently in the spring breeze. A few days later he is consoled by returned missionary priest and family acquaintance, Father Antonin Scallon. But it is not consolation alone that brings him. Antonin is concerned about a friends son's large donations to the leader of an 'alternative' religious organisation, Leonardo Mutti. Suspicious, Brunetti asks if the man done anything wrong in making donations. Not yet, the priest replies.Then a ten-year-old gypsy girl is found dead in the canal, a man's wedding ring and watch in her possession, and Brunetti uncovers a thorny world of prejudice and malefaction surrounding the immigrant gypsy communities, and encounters the new task force set up to help investigate cases involving 'extracommunitari'. Could there be a connection between the maligned gypsy communities and Mutti's alternative 'religion'? Sinister forces are at work and when people or organisations have no respectability left to lose, Pandora's Box is ajar.
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Donna Leon’s engaging books have been the cheapest way to travel to Italy for quite some time -- and her legion of admirers know that the Venice of her protagonist Commissario Brunetti is a wonderful destination for the crime fiction lover. Leon, an American expat who now lives in la Serenissima (with such luminaries as opera singer Cecilia Bartoli as one of her friends) has gone native – in no uncertain terms. Her knowledge of Brunetti’s water-logged beat is transmuted into vivid and evocative narratives: the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge are often the dark passageways to another, darker Italy, where hidden (and not-so-hidden) corruption – in politics and daily life – is very much an everyday thing (as headlines in the papers – not just in Donna Leon’s books –remind us on a daily basis).
The Girl of his Dreams demonstrates how much life is left in the Leon/Brunetti criminal world. A child’s body is found floating near some steps on the Grand Canal – it is that of a dead girl. But there have been no reports of missing children -- and the search for the identity of the youthful victim and her family takes Brunetti to many varied destinations, including a Gypsy encampment on the mainland, and (eventually), he turns up some very nasty secrets. As ever, it’s not just the villains who thwart Brunetti at every turn – it’s the venality and clandestine nature of the establishment that hampers him, almost as a matter of course.
This is Leon on effortless form – Brunetti fans need not hesitate. --Barry ForshawReview:
"Andrew Sachs brings his customary warm intelligence to this powerful story of a particularly cynical murder. By the end, we can identify the villain but murky political shenanigans will prevent justice from being done. It is sobering, and rings true" ( Independent on Sunday)
"This is Leon on effortless form – Brunetti fans need not hesitate" (Barry Forshaw)
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Book Description Arrow, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099534274