Commissario Guido Brunetti must contend with ingenious corruption, bureaucratic intransigence, and the stifling heat of a Venetian summer. As he plans a trip to the mountains with his family, he learns that cases at the local court - hardly known as a model of efficiency - are being delayed to the benefit of one of the parties. A creative new trick for corrupting the system, perhaps, but what can Brunetti do about it? Just when it looks like he will be able to get away, a shocking, violent crime forces him to stay in Venice.
Death in Venice: investigate more of Guido Brunetti's cases.
©2010 Donna Leon (P)2010 BBC Audio
"Leon’s many fans love this series for the Venetian setting, the complex family dynamics, and the hero’s mix of melancholy and compassion, and in this nineteenth installment, they get all of the above." (Booklist)
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.
I'm a huge fan of both Donna Leon and David Colacci. This audiobook is one of his best narrated versions. There are two parallel stories, and as usual, there is no clear resolution, but the end is breathtaking. The narrator perfectly captures the tenor of life in heat-ridden Venice. The avvocato's robes, hanging from his arm as he leans toward the window, trying to get air at the end of a court case, the interior of the restaurant selling those deliciously described tramezzini (sandwiches), and most importantly, a bird-cage filled, wine-racked storage cupboard in the courtyard of Venetian palazzo, will always stay with me.
Listening to this book is like taking a real, highly evocative trip to Venice. Even better than a real trip, you get a feel for every day life of the local. And at a huge discount ;)
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