When Commissario Brunetti receives a visit from one of his wife's students with a strange and vague interest in investigating the possibility of a pardon for a crime committed by her grandfather many years ago, he thinks little of it, despite being intrigued by the girl's intelligence and moral conscience. But when the girl is found stabbed to death, Claudia Leonardo is no longer Paola's student, but instead becomes Brunetti's case.
Claudia seemed to have no discernible living family, but lived with an elderly Austrian woman. Brunetti is stunned by the extraordinary art collection the old woman keeps, and when she in turn is found dead, the case begins to unlock long buried secrets of collaboration during the war, secrets few in Italy are happy to explore...
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Amazingly, Wilful Behaviour is Donna Leon's 11th novel featuring Commisario Guido Brunetti, and there's not a trace of the repetition or autopilot plotting that seems to kick in on so many long-running series. Set in Venice once more (US expat Leon's home patch), Brunetti's life is made even more difficult than in such illustrious previous outings as Friends in High Places.
An extraordinary art collection owned by an elderly Austrian woman is kept, rather rashly, in her flat. When she is discovered dead, the case lands in Brunetti's lap, and Leon's sardonic copper soon discovers secrets involving collaboration and the exploitation of Italian Jews during the war. The brick wall he encounters seems impregnable--very few people are happy to talk about what they know. But this time his wife Paola becomes involved. One of her students tells Brunetti about a crime committed by her grandfather who died in a mental home after escaping prison, then the girl is savagely stabbed to death What is her connection with the murdered Austrian woman with and her art collection? Brunetti gets closer to a labyrinthine plot that cuts across every level of Venetian society.
Brunetti remains one of the most persuasively characterised protagonists in crime fiction, and it's nice to see Paola Brunetti move centre stage in this one--she's a winning character. Donna Leon's authoritatively written novels combine machine-tooled plotting with her customarily vivid Italian locations. Living in Venice for over 20 years has given Leon a finger-tip knowledge of her locale, and she's unbeatable at conjuring up La Serenissima. But these are detective novels that don't merely utilise Venice as an exotic backdrop for mysteries and bloodletting; we are given brilliantly observed vignettes of workaday Venice as well. Wilful Behaviour may be slower exerting its grip than earlier Brunettis, but Leon's inexorable skills soon have us gripped quite as comprehensively as ever. --Barry ForshawReview:
"A classic example of detective-book murder, it is satisfyingly difficult to resolve ... Leon whips up a brilliant narrative storm" ( Sunday Times)
"Compelling ... absorbingly detailed ... this is a powerful story, brilliantly evoking Venetian atmosphere, and the characters of Brunetti and his family continue to deepen throughout this series" ( The Times)
"Donna Leon's novels have become successively more subtle, more complex and perhaps more serious, without ever losing their compelling power as narratives. This is especially true of Wilful Behaviour; the story is wholly engrossing" ( Evening Standard)
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Book Description Mar 06, 2003. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 54-HJUP-TV6V
Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0099415186
Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099415186
Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110099415186