Saturday, January 29, 2011

Donna Leon

I usually get tired quickly of crime novel series, but that's not the reason with Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti novels. I enjoy the banter between Brunetti and his wife, the lack of guns, violence and rooftop chases and of course the location: Venice.

Corruption is a major theme in the novels and often Brunetti can't get a conviction or has no way of getting the charge to stick, even though he knows very well who is responsible. In the Scandinavian crime novels that are all the rage at the moment I find that absolutely frustrating, but for some reason that's not the case here.
Maybe because Brunetti has kept his faith, if not in the state and justice system, then at least in himself.

"About Face" deals with the illegal transportation of garbage, including chemicals and radioactive waste. Brunetti also meets Franca Marinello, wo fascinates him with her knowledge of Cicero and other classical author, but who at the same time shocks him with a face that has been lifted so many times it's almost immobile. At least that's what the gossip says and here's the second major theme of the novel: rash conclusions we jump to and the love people have for gossip.

I enjoyed the interaction between Brunetti and and Franca Marinello because I connect that easily with people who have read the same books as well and I know the joy of meeting someone who shares my eclectic taste. We also get a closer look at Brunetti's parents in law, the Conte and Contessa Falier, with whom he has been developing a closer relationship over the last couple of novels.

If your taste in crime novels is more Agatha Christie than Kathy Reichs, then I highly recommend Donna Leon to you. The novels can be read independently of each other, but I think they will be more enjoyable if read in order. Death at La Fenice is the first one.

About Face is the sixth book for me in the Library Challenge

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