Jennifer's Journal


Friday, November 04, 2011

Review - Doctored Evidence

Doctored Evidence (Commissario Brunetti #13)Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A housebound old woman with a mean temper and nasty habits is brutality murdered, and no one cares. No one, that is, except Commissario Brunetti. So begins DOCTORED EVIDENCE, an intriguing study of murder Italian style, one that explores the ramifications of motive, also the uneasy fit of modern murder into the list of Seven Deadly Sins. Brunetti is in fine form as he threads his way through the labyrinthine streets and waterways of Venice--which serve as a metaphor for tangled Italian law and politics—to right a wrong. A disillusioned knight in a well-cut Italian suit, armored in irony, balancing anger and due concern for his stomach, he fights always for justice. Sometimes using the system, sometimes going beyond it, Brunetti wields every resource at his command to force the killer out of hiding.

There’s no furious action and few thrilling chases in Leon’s Venetian mysteries. Like ancient Greek and Roman dramas, they grind their inevitable way through human pride and stupidity, greed and frailty to reach an end that may or may not be entirely just. Yet I enjoy the stories for their portrait of a philosophical man of fiercely-protected sensibilities pitted against the evils of the world—also for their “Aha!” moments when something recalls the Venice I've known as an awestruck tourist. I like their character interactions, their small mysteries and secrets that are never fully revealed, and especially their atmosphere that’s so strong I can smell the dank canals, taste the garlic, savor the espresso and pastries. I just enjoy them, period.

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