In the 27th novel in Donna Leon's bestselling mystery series, Commissario Guido Brunetti tries to help a family friend who fears her son is dabbling in drugs, uncovering a longstanding scam with disturbing unintended consequences.
The Venetian settings are enchanting and Commissario Guido Brunetti’s investigative methods are drolly amusing. But it’s the living, bleeding humanity of the characters that makes Donna Leon’s police procedurals so engaging. In The Temptation of Forgiveness, Brunetti comes to the assistance of Professoressa Crosera, whose 15-year-old son is taking drugs and whose husband suffered a brain injury after being thrown down the stone steps of a bridge. In his sensitive dealings with the victims of crime, Brunetti proves as much a psychologist and social worker as a cop ... Tagging along after this sleuth is a wonderful way to see Venice like a native, especially since Leon takes care to give us precise directions for his routes.
Brunetti’s investigations into the assault and the drug dealing soon lead him down paths as narrow and winding as the streets of Venice itself. Donna Leon reveals to us a city of splendors and squalors, with inhabitants who are kind and grasping and unselfish and prejudiced, sometimes in quick succession. Above all, her people are alive in all their greatness and smallness. It’s easy to believe that these are less characters than actual people—a storytelling feat ... The Temptation of Forgiveness is a lovely meditation on the rule of law, set in an exquisitely rendered Venice that is at once modern and timeless. I’m honestly not sure how I felt about the ending, given everything that led up to it, but as with life, it is impossible to make everyone happy all the time. This bittersweetness of reality detracts little from Ms. Leon’s work and only enhances her continuing portrait of the City of Canals.
Another powerful exploration of the injustice of justice from a master of character-rich crime fiction ... Guido Brunetti may be the most beloved protagonist in crime fiction, and if his shoulders are stooping over so many encounters with human tragedy, his fans will feel only excitement at the prospect of joining him in his twenty-seventh adventure.