First Sentence: It was a peaceful night at the Brunetti home, and dinner progressed in harmony
Guido Brunetti is asked by his boss to look into a minor violation
possibly being committed by his future daughter-in-law. But it is
Brunetti’s wife’s request that has more significance. The handicapped
man at their dry cleaner has died of an apparent suicide and she feels
it’s sad that no one knew anything about him. As Brunetti begins to
investigate, he finds the man has no recorded history of being alive and
the mother refuses to speak to the police but claims his papers were
stolen. Who really was this man, and who might have wanted him dead.
has a way of describing things so you clearly see them and so you feel
the emotions of the characters. It’s lovely when an author doesn’t
assume the reader has been following the series from the beginning.
Leon starts off with an excellent introduction to Brunetti and his
The characters are fully developed and what truly bring
the books to life. How refreshing to have a protagonist who works well
with his colleagues and empathetic to those around him. He understands
the idiosyncrasies of Italian law and politics…"Upstairs, Brunetti
opened the online pages of Il Fatto Quotidiano, a newspaper which often
delighted him by its manifest distrust of every political party, every
politician, and every religious leader.", yet does his best to do his
job, often with the help of Signorina Elettra, "...a buccaneer utterly
without respect for rules or regulations." He also has a close, loving
and intelligent family who love to eat good food, the descriptions of
which are mouth-watering.
Leon not only writes dialogue with
subtle humor, but she asks philosophical questions that make you think.
She is an intelligent writer who uses thoughts well…”Here he was again,
assuming that what he thought was what other people must surely think;
that his judgments must have universal validity.” She does,
occasionally, send the reader searching out a dictionary. Her simple
observations often catch you off guard…"Poor people had grandparents; the
rich had ancestors." Her observation on how children learn is
“The Golden Egg” is a police procedural, but it is
also a commentary on society and people. Although it is not a crime
story in the usual sense, it is a crime of inhumanity, cruelty and
ignorance. The story is fascinating and completely involving with an
THE GOLDEN EGG (Pol Proc-Comm. Guido Brunetti-Venice-Contemp) - Ex
Leon, Donna - 22nd in series
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013
Sunday, April 6, 2014
First Sentence: It is a truth universally acknowledged, at least among private enquiry agents, that the most momentous of cases, the real corkers, begin on the blandest, most ordinary of days.
Cyrus Barker has a long history with Sebastian Nightwine going all the way back to their years in China. Was Nightwine responsible for the death of Barker’s brother? Yet now, years later, not only is Nightwine coming to London, he has received immunity from the British government and is about to do a major deal with him. Nightwine recognized Barker will try to stop him and, in turn, is determined to destroy Barker. The two are locked in a desperate game of wits and violence; Barker with his assistant Thomas Llewelyn at his side and Nightwine with an unanticipated ally. Will anyone survive?
There is a wonderful sense of time and place from food, to clothes, to technology to the city of London itself. Even without introduction, the voice of the narrator and the wry humor is so engaging--The Gov’s brows furrowed. “You’ve been hired to protect someone from me?” “You’ve been known to take a man apart like a watch.” Barker considered this. “Not unless he deserved it.”--one is immediately captivated. The case which is presented to Barker is unexpected and compelling.
Cyrus Barker is a fascinating character; a man of many skills and particular tastes. We learn a good deal about his childhood and understand that much of what made him as he is. Llewelyn, Barker’s assistant, has grown as a character. For those who have been following the series, an interesting change is that Llewelyn takes the lead in much of this story.
Particular credit goes to the author for his secondary characters. These are not cardboard figures but fully realized and developed characters. Because of that, the reader becomes much more invested in the story and events.
Thomas skillfully inserts actual historical figures into the story but only in ways which would fit with their real lives. He also educates us on a number of interesting subjects; including the use of ricin, information on the Knights Templar, Knights Hospitaller and the Freemasons; and the creation of the ambulance service. Rather than ever slowing the story down, the information serves to weaves the story together. Some authors are so good you want to read sentences or passages aloud to someone else. Will Thomas is so good, you want to read the entire book aloud to someone else just to ensure they experience the same high quality of storytelling as did you.
“Fatal Enquiry is excellent on every level. In addition to those qualities already mentions, it has a cleverly constructed, gripping plot with excellent suspense, and a wonderful “Ah-ha!” moment. It’s hard to wait for the next book in this marvelous series.
FATAL ENQUIRY (Hist Mys-Barker/Llewelyn-London-Victorian) – Ex
Minotaur Books, 2014