Neither Commissario Brunetti nor his wife Paola have ever had much sympathy for the Italian armed forces, so when a young cadet is found hanged, a presumed suicide, in Venice's elite military academy, Brunetti's emotions are complex: pity and sorrow for the death of a boy, close in age to his own son, and contempt and irritation for the arrogance and high-handedness of the boy's teachers and fellow-students. But as Brunetti investigates further he is faced by a wall of silence, as the military protects its own and civilians are unwilling to talk. Is this the natural reluctance of Italians to involve themselves with the authorities, or is Brunetti facing a conspiracy of silence?
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Donna Leon was named by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers. She is an award-winning crime novelist, celebrated for the bestselling Brunetti series. Donna has lived in Venice for thirty years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, where she worked as a teacher. Donna's books have been translated into 35 languages and have been published around the world. Her previous novels featuring Commissario Brunetti have all been highly acclaimed; including Friends in High Places, which won the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, Fatal Remedies, Doctored Evidence, A Sea of Troubles and Beastly Things.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Brunetti arrived before the children did, so he opted to keep Paola company while she finished preparing the meal. As she set the table, he lifted pot lids and opened the oven, comforted to find nothing but familiar dishes: lentil soup, chicken smothered in red cabbage, and what looked like radicchio di Treviso.
"Are you bringing all of your detective skills to bear in examining that chicken?" Paola asked as she set glasses on the table.
"No, not really," he said, closing the oven and standing upright. "My investigation has to do with the radicchio, Signora, and whether there are perhaps traces in it of the same pancetta I detected in the lentil soup."
"A nose as good as that," she said, coming over and placing the tip of her finger on it, "could effectively put an end to crime in this city." "I went to see Signora Moro," he began, pausing to see if Paola would react. She did not, so he went on, "I wanted to talk to her about the hunting accident."
"And?" Paola prodded.
"Someone shot at her from the woods near her friends' house, but then some other hunters came along and took her to the hospital."
"Are you sure they were other hunters?" Paola asked, giving evidence that her native skepticism had been enhanced by more than two decades of marriage to a policeman.
"It would seem so," he said, leaving it at that.
Knowing how reluctant he would be to mention him, Paola asked, "And the boy?"
"She said that he didn't kill himself, and that's all she said."
"She's his mother," Paola said. "Believe her."
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