I’ve been reading a series of thrillers recently, but this is the last for the time being.
Donna Leon is very popular with the cognoscenti, and her name appears in the top 10 of books sold in my local bookshop. This story is set in Venice, and features Commissario Brunetti investigating the death of an old woman: did she die of natural causes, or was she shaken so violently that it provoked a heart attack?
The politics of Italy are a prominent element in this story. It would be simpler to leave the death as natural causes, but Brunetti suspects there is more to it, and when he discovers that she has been providing a safe haven for abused women he decides to push on with the investigation regardless of instructions from above.
The pace of the novel is leisurely and this gives time to develop a range of characters: the nun from southern Italy whose views on truth and honesty are influenced by that background; the illiterate old man with one abiding passion; the police secretary with bureaucratic connections enabling access to all sorts of illegitimate information. In each case Leon explores the political and moral world these characters inhabit, so that the novel is thoughtful and informative as well as intriguing.
I might come back to this author later – that’s a recommendation – but at the moment my appetite for thrillers has abated.