Praising Donna Leon’s international best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti detective series as one of the top to savor, Time
raved that “no one knows the labyrinthine world of Venice
or the way favoritism and corruption shape Italian life like Leon
’s Brunetti . . . the thoughtful Venetian cop with a love of food, an outspoken wife, and a computer-hacker secretary who plays man Friday to his detective.” In this latest, highly anticipated novel, Brunetti delves into the secrets of the island of Murano
, home of the world-famous glass factories.
On a luminous spring day in Venice
, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant, Vianello, play hooky in order to help Vianello’s friend, Marco Ribetti, an environmental activist who has been arrested during a protest. Brunetti and Vianello manage to secure his release, but on the steps of the Questura, they come face-to-face with Ribetti’s father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass-factory owner. De Cal
has been overheard in the bars of Murano making violent threats against Ribetti. Brunetti’s curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano and its fornace, where his father once worked, to investigate. Is De Cal
the type of man to carry out his threats? By all accounts he is constantly angry, bullying suppliers and fuming against environmentalists. Then the body of De Cal
’s bookish night watchman is found in front of the blazing furnace of the glass factory, and Brunetti’s investigation turns serious. Did the old man kill him?
An annotated copy of Dante’s Inferno, found at the scene of the crime, may contain the clues Brunetti needs to solve the murderand uncover who is ruining the waters of Venice
’s lagoon. But Brunetti needs the help of his wife, Paola, a professor of literature, and his daughter, Chiara, who should be doing her Latin homework. Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, and in quiet bars, as the weather heats up, the flowers come into bloom, and the tourists return in droves, Brunetti searches for the night watchman’s killer. But can he unravel the poetic clues before the unseemly death is allowed to be forgotten?
A fascinating, evocative, and delicious novel set in native Venetian society that combines politics and culture, Through a Glass, Darkly
is Donna Leon at her finest.