Friends In High Places: (Brunetti 9)

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9780099269328: Friends In High Places: (Brunetti 9)

When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat investigating the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years earlier, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant government department. But when the bureaucrat rings Brunetti at work, clearly scared, and is then found dead after a fall from scaffolding, something is obviously going on that has implications greater than the fate of Brunetti's apartment ...

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Review:

Donna Leon's sweetly cynical Venetian cop Brunetti has his principles, but is always prepared to bend them a little, to appeal to his own Friends in High Places. When bureaucrat Rossi starts to investigate whether his apartment in a historic building has any right to exist, he and his wife start to look for leverage;

At no time did it occur to him, as it did not occur to Paola, to approach the matter legally, to find out the names of the proper offices and officials and the proper steps to follow ... Venetians ignored them, knowing that the only way to deal with problems like this was by means of acquaintances, friendships, contacts and debts built up over a lifetime.

When Rossi rings him at his office, seeking help, and is found dead under some scaffolding, Brunetti feels a particular obligation to find out whether he fell, or was thrown. His investigations take him to the heart of corruption, to money lenders and officials and drug dealers and petty thugs, and to solutions and resolutions that are only ever going to be partial. Brunetti is an attractive detective because he has a human preparedness to make compromises and a judicious sense of when it is morally appropriate, and when it is not. And as always in this excellent and popular series, the true protagonist is the city of Venice, its buildings and its weather and its smells. --Roz Kaveney

Review:

"Leon's best so far ... I don't think I could really understand a crime fan who didn't love Donna Leon" ( Scotland on Sunday)

"Leon tells the story as if she loves Venice as much as her detective does, warts and all. The plot and subplots unfold elegantly; beauty and the beast march hand in hand, and the result is rich entertainment." ( Sunday Times)

"All Donna Leon's novels are excellent in their evocation of place, while in Brunetti she has created a character who becomes more real in each book ... However, Friends in High Places is by far the best, and marks a quantum leap forward" ( Evening Standard)

"Leon is a skilful plotter ... Brunetti is a nicely shaded creation, a moral man who is also all too human. Friends in High Places is a splendid read, clever and provoking" ( The Observer)

" Friends in High Places [is an] elegant police procedural set in beautifully imagined Venice" ( Sunday Times)

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