The Girl of His Dreams: (Brunetti 17)
A few days later he is consoled by returned missionary priest and family acquaintance, Father Antonin Scallon. But it is not consolation alone that brings him. Antonin is concerned about a friends son's large donations to the leader of an 'alternative' religious organisation, Leonardo Mutti. Suspicious, Brunetti asks if the man done anything wrong in making donations. Not yet, the priest replies.
Then a ten-year-old gypsy girl is found dead in the canal, a man's wedding ring and watch in her possession, and Brunetti uncovers a thorny world of prejudice and malefaction surrounding the immigrant gypsy communities, and encounters the new task force set up to help investigate cases involving 'extracommunitari' . Could there be a connection between the maligned gypsy communities and Mutti's alternative 'religion'? Sinister forces are at work and when people or organisations have no respectability left to lose, Pandora's Box is ajar.
Donna Leons engaging books have been the cheapest way to travel to Italy for quite some time -- and her legion of admirers know that the Venice of her protagonist Commissario Brunetti is a wonderful destination for the crime fiction lover. Leon, an American expat who now lives in la Serenissima (with such luminaries as opera singer Cecilia Bartoli as one of her friends) has gone native in no uncertain terms. Her knowledge of Brunettis water-logged beat is transmuted into vivid and evocative narratives: the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge are often the dark passageways to another, darker Italy, where hidden (and not-so-hidden) corruption in politics and daily life is very much an everyday thing (as headlines in the papers not just in Donna Leons books remind us on a daily basis).
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