When the body of an wealthy elderly woman is found, brutally murdered in her Venetian flat, it is soon clear to the police that the prime suspect is her Rumanian maid, who has disappeared and is heading for Rumania. When the woman is approached by the border police as her train is leaving Italy, she makes a run for it and is killed as she crosses the tracks in front of an oncoming train. She has a considerable sum of money on her and her papers are obvious forgeries. Case closed. But when the old woman's neighbour returns from a business trip in London, it becomes clear that the maid could not have had time to kill the old woman before catching her train, and that the money on her was not stolen.
Commissario Brunetti decides - unofficially - to take the case on himself. As Brunetti learns more of the old woman's family, it becomes clear that this is probably not a crime motivated by greed, rather that the probable motive connects with the temptations of lust. But perhaps Brunetti is following a false trail and thinking of the wrong deadly sin altogether-
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Doctored Evidence is every bit as impressive as any previous outing for the urbane Commissario Brunetti we've encountered--and reading a Donna Leon novel is almost as good as a trip to Italy, so evocative is the ex-pat of her adoptive country. Not that Signor Berlusconi would necessarily approve of the multiple levels of Italian corruption and double-dealing that Leon has strip-mined for her unflappable copper to take on--and her view of the other dark sides of Italy strays quite some way from the tourist's point of view.
Here, Brunetti seems to have come up against an open-and-shut case; a well-heeled Venetian is found bloodily murdered in her flat, with her missing maid, a Romanian immigrant, the prime suspect. The maid is tracked down, but meets a violent end on a railway track attempting to escape. Needless to say, Brunetti doesn't takes things at face value and when it transpires that the money found on the maid has not been stolen, this (along with other factors) has Brunetti doing a little unofficial sleuthing, and uncovering a very tangled web of motives indeed--with revelations quite different from the attempts to cover up municipal shenanigans that have often been the worm in the bud of previous Brunetti cases.
By now, we're all very comfortable with the Commissario and his dogged head-butting at complacent institutions. But Leon is not one to rest on her laurels--there are new elements here (notably in the brilliantly orchestrated final chapters) that take us into new territory. But all the things we love about this series are firmly in place: vivid, acutely detailed locales, the usual exemplary characterisation (not just of Brunetti--the whole dramatis personae here is spot-on); and of course that impeccable plotting. --Barry ForshawReview:
"'Leon's Venice-set crime series... have depth and a wonderful sense of place... Leon's Venice has hidden menace.'" ( Bournemouth Daily Echo)
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Book Description Arrow 2005-03-03, 2005. New Ed. Book Condition: new. Arrow edition paperback new condition. In stock shipped from our UK warehouse. Bookseller Inventory # 51138
Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110099446758