Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon

Foreign Authors

Review by Joanne Cronin

Main Character: Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Questura (police force.)

Setting: Contemporary Venice

Point of view: Third person

Style/Pacing: Leisurely pace, but with foreboding overtones.

Plot: Brunetti is called to investigate the death of a widow in her apartment. There are signs of a struggle, but the medical examiner rules Signora Altavilla died of a heart attack. The Questura has no jurisdiction without a crime to solve, but Brunetti can’t help feeling that something is wrong. He combs the Signora’s life for clues and finds surprising connections to domestic violence

Humor:  Frequent byplay with his subordinate, Inspector Vianello, the technology wizard Signorina Elletra, and his wife, Paola lighten the mood of the story.

Emotional Impact/Degree of Violence: A sense of unease pervades the story; some violence, but not gratuitous. The reader comes to empathize with the characters involved in the investigation. Brunetti is a compassionate cop, and this shows in his actions throughout.

Sex/Vulgarity: Very little of either.

Language/Writing: Character-driven mystery with frequent tours of Venice the beautiful and Venice the squalid. Brunetti ruminates on human nature and his beloved city frequently, and the reader is fascinated.

Issues: Domestic violence, relationship complications.

Other notes: Leon is an expatriate American who has lived in Venice for decades. Her books are extremely popular in Europe as well as here.

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