It is a luminous spring day in Venice, as Commissario Brunetti and Inspettore Vianello come to the rescue of Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, who has been arrested while protesting against chemical pollution of the Venetian lagoon, only to be faced by the fury of Marco's father-in-law, owner of a glass factory on the island of Murano.
But clearly there is another victim who has uncovered the guilty secret of the polluting glass foundries of the island of Murano, and whose body is found dead in front of the furnaces which burn at 1400 degrees, night and day. The victim has left clues in a copy of Dante and Brunetti must descend into an inferno to discover who is burning the land and fouling the waters of the lagoon. A man is dead - but will politics and expedience prevent the killer from striking again?
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Do the following two things appeal to you? A holiday in Venice, away from the tourist traps, investigating the city's more unusual nooks and crannies? Or trying (by proxy) to solve a particularly mystifying crime case with a variety of intriguing suspects? Well, you don't need either the money the first would require or the police qualifications the latter might need, if you merely shell out the modest outlay for Donna Leon's Through a Glass Darkly, the latest in her always assured Commissario Brunetti novels.
Admirers of these books need no recommendation: they have been amazingly consistent in their development over the years, and have rarely slipped into the overfamiliar--there's no sense that Donna Leon is tired of either Brunetti or his battles with municipal and governmental corruption.
It's spring in Venice, and Commissario Brunetti and his associate Vianello undertake a task not officially sanctioned by the Questura--they will try to do what they can for Vianello’s friend Marco, an eco-activist who has been arrested after an environmental protest turns ugly. Soon after, Brunetti witnesses the almost psychotic enmity of Marco's father-in-law, who almost seems prepared to murder his relative (a fear that Marco's wife shares). The old man's glass factory on Murano, the source of the conflict between father and son-in-law, becomes the scene for a murder: in front of the furnaces which eternally burn at high temperatures, a body is found and Brunetti’s search for the killer is aided by clues found in a volume of Dante.
All of the customary Leon fingerprints are satisfyingly in place here: the sultry and immensely vivid evocation of Venice; the ever-present pall of evil and corruption that suffuses the beauty of the city, and (most pleasurably of all) the careful delineation of character in Brunetti and his associates. This is a series that has a long time to run yet.
Praise for Through A Glass, Darkly:
Venetian life, and Brunetti's model marriage, are as entertaining as the working out of the whodunit. A joy from start to finish." ( Evening Standard)
Praise for Blood From A Stone:
'The fabulous Donna Leon' Antonia Fraser in the Spectator"
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