For the 28th novel in Donna Leon's bestselling mystery series, the apparent indiscretion of an elderly family friend involves a reluctant Commissario Guido Brunetti until the sudden natural death of his friend sets in motion a murder.
Once again, Leon transforms what might have been a straightforward mystery into something much richer and more resonant—in this case, a meditation on love, loss, family, and prejudice ... Many crime novels place domestic story lines alongside crime plots, but Leon masterfully blends the two, enhancing our understanding of both. It is in Brunetti’s conversations with his wife and children, and in his musings on his reading that we come to feel the full force of how preconceived notions about gender and sexuality can erode even the seemingly strongest of relationships. Far more than whodunit, the real subject of this novel (and Leon’s work in general) is what we all do to one another.
Leon is a multifaceted, effortlessly assured writer. Her plots are innovative and layered, her characters have developed and matured over the course of a lengthy series, and her prose is imbued with wit and compassion on virtually every page. If you are a fan of Louise Penny (and who isn’t?), Leon should be on your short list.