Author(s): Donna Leon
At a dinner party given by his parents-in-law Comissario Brunetti meets Franca Marinello, the wife of a prosperous Venetian businessman. He's charmed - perhaps too charmed, suggests his wife Paola - by her Signora Marinello's love of Virgil and Cicero, but shocked by her appearance. A few days later, Brunetti is visited by Carabinieri Maggiore Filipo Guarino from the nearby district of Marghera. As part of a wider investigation into Mafia takeovers of businesses in the region, Guarino wants information about the owner of a trucking company found murdered in his offices. He believes his death is connected to the illegal transportation of refuse - and more sinister material - in the company trucks. No stranger to mutual suspicion and rivalry between rival Italian police departments, Brunetti is nevertheless puzzled by the younger man's paranoid behaviour. Eventually Guarino agrees to email a photo of his suspect, but by the time the photograph arrives, he himself is dead.
Was he killed because he got too close? And how is it that Franca Marinello has often been seen in company of the suspect, a vulgar man with Mafia connections and a violent past? Donna Leon's new novel is as subtle, gripping and topical as ever, bringing the sights, sounds and smells of Venice flooding to life. First published 2009.