Synopses & Reviews
Over the years, Donna Leon's best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has conquered the heart of lovers of finely-plotted character-driven mysteries all over the world. Brunetti, both a perceptive sleuth and a principled family man, has exposed readers to Venice in all its aspects: its history, beauty, architecture, seasons, food and social life, but also the crime and corruption that seethe below the surface of La Serenissima.
In The Golden Egg, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Brunetti's ambitious boss, Patta, asks him to look into a seemingly insignificant violation of public vending laws by a shopkeeper, who happens to be the future daughter-in-law of the Mayor. Brunetti, who has no interest in helping Patta enrich his political connections, has little choice but to ask around to see if the bribery could cause a scandal.
Then, Brunetti's wife Paola comes to him with an unusual request of her own. The deaf, mentally disabled man who worked at their dry-cleaners has died of a sleeping-pill overdose, and Paola's kind heart can't take the idea that he lived and died without anyone noticing him, or helping him.
To please her, Brunetti begins to ask questions. He is surprised when he finds that the man left no official record: no birth certificate, no passport, no drivers license, no credit cards. The man owns nothing, is registered nowhere. As far as the Italian government is concerned, the man never existed. It is even more surprising because, with his physical and mental handicaps, both he and his mother were entitled to financial support from the state. And yet, despite no official record of the man's life, there is his body.
Stranger still, the dead man's mother is reluctant to speak to the police and claims that her sons identification papers were stolen in a burglary. As clues stack up, Brunetti suspects that the Lembos, a family of aristocratic copper magnates, might be somehow connected to the death. But could anyone really want this sweet, simple-minded man dead?
Donna Leon's Brunetti series has gotten better and better in recent years, with countless reviews praising her remarkable ability to keep the books fresh, the depths of feeling genuine. This story of a troubled life is undoubtedly one of her most touching, emotionally powerful books, a standout for the series.
[Readers] will savor the pleasures of dialogue as elliptical in its way as Henry James and a retrospective shock when they finally appreciate the import of the tales unobtrusive opening scene and its sly title.” Kirkus Reviews
In The Golden Egg
, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Vice Questore Patta asks Brunetti to look into a minor shop-keeping violation committed by the mayor's future daughter-in-law. Brunetti has no interest in helping his boss amass political favors, but he has little choice but to comply. Then Brunetti's wife, Paola, comes to him with a request of her own. The mentally handicapped man who worked at their dry cleaner has just died of a sleeping pill overdose, and Paola loathes the idea that he lived and died without anyone noticing him, or helping him.
Brunetti begins to investigate the death and is surprised when he finds nothing on the man: no birth certificate, no passport, no drivers license, no credit cards. As far as the Italian government is concerned, he never existed. Stranger still, the dead man's mother refuses to speak to the police, and assures Brunetti that her son's identification papers were stolen in a burglary. As secrets unravel, Brunetti suspects that the Lembos, an aristocratic family, might be somehow connected to the death. But why would anyone want this sweet, simple-minded man dead?
About the Author
Donna Leon is the author of the international best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon was born in New Jersey and has lived in Venice for thirty years.