Authors and readers just click sometimes, not sure why that is, but for me Donna Leon and her Commissario Brunetti series just fits me to a T! I loved this book that begins with a woman throwing a rock through the window of a travel agency to protest the agencies booking sex-travel tours to Thailand so their clientele can have the pleasure of having sexual relations with 10-year old girls. It is an outrage and one lady has had enough, and it is Brunnetti’s wife!!!!! Yes, Brunnetti is sound asleep when he gets a call from the police station that his wife is there. Before long Brunnetti is placed on Administrative Leave (something they never had at that time) while everyone tries to work out whether a civil settlement can be reached. But a few days later Brunnetti gets another call from work that the owner of that Travel Agency has been killed. And now the hunt is on, with no apparent suspects. Luckily Brunnetti always has the lovely Signorina Elettra to rely upon. Even though she is not his personal secretary, he taps her for her vast computer skills and she is eventually able to find a connection between the manner of death, and a few other cases with similar M.O.’s in Italy.
This is a wonderful book that really shows the personal strife the Brunnetti family undergoes thanks to Paula’s vandalism at the travel agency, and how it affects their marriage and relationship (no fear, the Brunnetti’s love each other), how it spills over into his work and their social life and that it is not until the murder is solved that it becomes apparent that the killing was not caused or related to Paula Brunnetti’s actions.
Well plotted, fast paced, and just a solid read for Donna Leon fans. I do believe you need to begin this series with Book 1 to see how the characters grow and evolve. But by the time you get to this book you will hopefully agree this that is a superb series, a well-written series and that this is one of the best books of the series. Leon has come back strong in this book after a few not as great books earlier. And she has proven herself to be the Queen of Italian police mysteries.