I’m a big fan of Donna Leon so I had to try this book. First, I listened to an hour of the book. Then I went to other pursuits. Two months later, I tried again and made it all the way by stubborn perseverance. While well written and wonderfully narrated, the story is simply not very interesting. One follows the protagonist’s research about an 18th century composer/prelate of sorts, which I found I didn’t care about. The protagonist’s travails as the hired researcher to go through the papers of the composer are only mildly interesting. I’ll stick with Bruneti.
I like Brunetti series
I Hear Sirens in the Street
The food described is always good but Leon wrote this as a way of venting her dislike of the Catholic Church and her view of people who believe as fools to be pitied or liars
Just too much of Leon's own anti-Catholic rant
As a fan of Donna Leon's I feel that this was an indulgence on her part, that should have been killed by her editor. There is only enough material here for a short story, and it is expanded into a book by means of lots of extraneous details which ultimately go for nothing. There are hints of the way in which the story could have been expanded into a fully rounded story about a Venetian family, but it is all thrown away in a plodding, tedious tale of an academic reading through old papers in two trunks. The characters are not well developed. This is a story that goes nowhere. Don't buy it.
Donna Leon writes great mysteries, but in this book, she barely had a conflict to investigate, much less one that was engaging. So much time spent in meaningless descriptions of how someone cut the zucchini, stirred the sugar in her coffee, lifted the page evenly and carefully with two hands. I felt like I was reading the assignments from a Write Your First Novel class. And the narrator's beautiful Italianate English began to grate after a while, as if, since there was nothing to say, it was best to stretch out the words as long as possible, and repeat people's names over and over.
Of course I still look forward to the next Brunetti novel, but I hope Ms. Leon sticks with those in the future.