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This is another fine installment in the excellent Commissario Guido Brunetti series, several of which we've already reviewed. The plot will be familiar to anyone who watched the second season of HBO's The Wire, though the criminality cuts to the heart of Italian society, rather than skirting the margins of Baltimore. Two things seem particularly notable here. First, Ms Leon's/Brunetti's view of the level of corruption affecting Italy has never been bleaker. Second, whether conscious or not, there's a real contrast drawn in the novel between the rather trivial pop politics of Brunetti's socialist wife and kids--whose current cause is agitating against plastic bottles--and the officer himself, who's seen as less politically committed though he's in the trenches waging a real war against crime, including governmental crime. The tension and the hypocrisy become especially obvious when their daughter gets involved in the investigation and the wife reacts in fury. The juxtaposition of the moral purity she imagines comes from using glass vs. the evil of informing on friends to stop a white slavery/prostitution ring makes it apparent why one would be hopeless about Italy.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Donna Leon (3 books reviewed)
Donna Leon Links:

    -Donna Leon (Grove Atlantic)
    -Donna Leon (Random House)
    -INTERVIEW: One Minute With: Donna Leon, crime writer (Independent, 30 MARCH 2012)
    -INTERVIEW: DONNA LEON INTERVIEW (, Venice, May 5, 2003)
    -MEET THE WRITERS: Donna Lean (Barnes & Noble)
    -INTERVIEW: DONNA LEON ON THIRTY YEARS OF INSPECTOR GUIDO BRUNETTI: Now thirty books in to her iconic Venetian series, Leon talks inspirations and craft with her long-time editor, George Gibson. (GEORGE GIBSON, 3/09/21, Crime Reads)
    -Donna Leon (BookBrowse)
    -Donna Leon (Tangled Web)
    -Novels by Donna Leon
    -READING GROUP GUIDE: A Noble Radiance
    -ESSAY: DONNA LEON: A CRIME READER’S GUIDE TO THE CLASSICS: For thirty years, Leon's Venetian mysteries have entranced readers. New readers are discovering her work all the time. ( NEIL NYREN, 6/25/21, CrimeReads)
    -REVIEW: of A Noble Radiance by Donna Leon (Val McDermid, Tangled Web)
    -REVIEW: of A Noble Radiance and Uniform Justice by Donna Leon (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Acqua Alta by Donna Leon (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Friends in High Places by Donna Leon (Peter Guttridge, Observer)
    -REVIEW: of A Sea of Troubles by Donna Leon (Maxim Jakubowski, The Guardian)

Book-related and General Links: