This Commisario Guido Brunetti mystery begins when he receives a telephone call from the director of a specialized library indicating some rare books have presumably been stolen. Moreover, others have been mutilated, maps and illustrations having been cut out of the volumes. From that point, the plot moves forward in a straight police procedural format.
The story allows the Commissario to shine, with his deep erudite knowledge of history and literature. And the author is given the opportunity to tackle yet another singular subject: the rare book industry, and its sideline of theft and greedy collectors. The obvious culprit is a man who had identified himself as an American professor who requested the books. And a former priest, who has been reading in the library for the past three years, is an apparent witness. Unfortunately, he is murdered before he can be questioned, complicating the investigation.
Brunetti is a Venetian, through and through. And the series is grounded in Venice, as he walks the streets and sails on the canals and lagoon as he pursues a solution to the crimes he investigates, providing a bona fide atmosphere for the series. While the novel is at the same high level of subtlety and sophistication as past entries, it lacks some of the attributes that have endeared readers to the series in the past. Lacking are Brunnetti’s gourmet appetite, his wife’s recipes for wonderful meals, the charming repartee over the dinner table between husband and wife and two children as precocious as their parents, the charm of Brunetti’s home life, his relationship with his wife, daughter and son are always plusses in the books that make up this series. That said, the novel, as each of its predecessors, is recommended....Continua