First time Ms. James has disappointed. Too many characters introduced too rapidly and not effectively developed—and not very interesting to boot, a convoluted plot difficult to follow, a final scene perhaps meant as a parody of Hercule Poirot calling a meeting of all the suspects so that in a tour de force he could expose the murderer. Just did not work, for me at least.
I have read (in print) and admired all of the preceding Commissario Brunetti titles and this is my first disappointment, partly because the novel is atypically slow-starting and slow in general, but mostly because of the oddly stilted narration. David Colacci apparently decided that because the story takes place in Venice and the characters are Italian he would need to give them a phony and forced Italo-American accent. This is unsuccessful and distracting in the extreme. If Mr. Colacci read Tolstoi in translation would he provide an American's notion of a Russian accent? Should Madame Bovary, narrated in English, speak with a pseudo-French accent? It does not work and frankly spoils the book.
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