From the Publisher
“[An] unusually reflective detective story.”Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Appreciative of feminine charms, the deeply uxorious Brunetti amply displays the keen intelligence and wry humor that has endeared this series to so many.”Publishers Weekly
“[Readers] will savor the pleasures of dialogue as elliptical in its way as Henry James and a retrospective shock when they finally appreciate the import of the tale’s unobtrusive opening scene and its sly title.”Kirkus Reviews
"Rating: A."Deadly Pleasures
Commissario Guido Brunetti, out of a sense of guilt and at the urging of his compassionate wife, investigates the suspicious death of a disabled man, Davide Cavanella, in Leon’s intriguing 22nd mystery featuring the crafty Venetian police inspector (after 2012’s Beastly Things). Davide’s mother is unwilling to discuss his death. Worse, there’s no official evidence of Davide’s existence: he apparently was never born and never went to school, saw a doctor, or received a passport. The colorful locals are uncooperative. Brunetti’s understanding of the Venetian bureaucracy, which operates smoothly on bribery and familial connections, allows his subordinates to enlist the help of various aunts and cousins, as is neatly shown in a subplot involving the mayor and his son. Appreciative of feminine charms, the deeply uxorious Brunetti amply displays the keen intelligence and wry humor that has endeared this series to so many. (Apr.)
Leon fans will welcome the newest entry (after Beastly Things) in her superb series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, Venetian police officer extraordinaire. Interwoven among Leon’s seductive cameos of Venetian life, the plot is especially compelling. Paola, Brunetti’s wife, implores him to investigate a case that hits close to home—the tragic death of the visibly deaf, dumb, and retarded man who was a fixture in the local dry cleaning shop. To complicate matters, there is no official trace of the man’s (commonly referred to as “the boy”) existence. In the end, of course, Brunetti arrives at the subtle, sad conclusion that will move readers.
Verdict Leon delivers an intricate plot couched in spare, Hemingwayesque prose. Her elegant, masterly use of language captures perfectly the quality and pace of life in Venice. Readers will particularly savor the long, leisurely, enticing lunches enjoyed by Venetians, and Brunetti’s numerous breaks in cafés will elicit envy from espresso aficionados. A sine qua non for Leon fans who also enjoy Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series.—Lynne Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA
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Commissario Guido Brunetti, the second-sharpest member of the Venetian Questura, investigates the death of a man who barely had a life to begin with. Brunetti's wife, Paola Falier, rarely intrudes into his professional life, but she can't help being distraught at the death of the boy who helps out at her dry cleaner's, even though he's not a boy--he turns out to be over 40--and she doesn't know his name. Davide Cavanella, a deaf-mute who may have been mentally disabled as well, apparently swallowed a handful of sleeping pills because they looked like candy, then choked in his own vomit. More interesting than any questions about his death, however, are questions about Davide's life. Why has this obviously disabled person never made a claim on any of the government programs designed to help him? For that matter, why has he left no paper trail at all? Brunetti (Beastly Things, 2012, etc.) doesn't believe Ana Cavanella's story that her son's papers were stolen years ago, but he's brought up short by the alternative: that there never was any official record of his existence. Aided by Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta's subversive secretary, Signora Elettra Zorzi, the sharpest mind in the Questura, Brunetti turns over all the stones of Venice in his search for Davide's roots. The clues that link the dead man to the wealthy Lembo family won't surprise readers familiar with the pervasive corruption Leon's unearthed in Venice past and present (The Jewels of Paradise, 2012). But they'll savor the pleasures of dialogue as elliptical in its way as Henry James and a retrospective shock when they finally appreciate the import of the tale's unobtrusive opening scene and its sly title.