Even as an entry in such an idiosyncratic (and appealing) series, this case is one of the most personal our protagonist – a thoughtful, compassionate man – has faced. Fraud, and the lax Italian laws that accommodate it, may be at the center of this narrative, but the issues at its heart are human rather than legal: loss, aging, and the ways in which time plays on our character, for good or ill ... series fans will love tracing familiar routes, as Brunetti boards a vaporetto and navigates the city’s maze of walkways and bridges, stunning architecture and decaying palazzos around every turn. This outing, however, is lighter than usual on the domestic scenes — notably the glorious multicourse meals Paola prepares for the family (although there is one risotto with radicchio di Treviso). Surprisingly, this lack doesn’t seriously impair the depiction of Brunetti’s humanity, nor our enjoyment of this latest installment. Perhaps it simply emphasizes how fatigued we have all become. The cost we have all paid.
Once again, Brunetti’s remarkable empathy with people takes him into shark-infested waters, forced to confront how 'revenge, that deformed child of justice, fed itself with blind desire.' Another moving meditation on the vagaries of human relationships posing as a mystery novel ... There is no ambiguity about the unalloyed affection millions of readers’ feel toward Guido Brunetti, one of crime fiction’s most popular protagonists.
This book is classic Leon: Brunetti is less focused on any actual crime than on figuring out whether some other unknown crime has been committed, whether he himself is doing something wrong by using official resources on an unofficial investigation, whether the ends of finding information he needs justifies Signorina Elletra's shadowy means of procuring it ... Still the next best thing to moving to Venice.