Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wilful Behavior by Donna Leon

First Sentence: The explosion came at breakfast.
A student of Insp. Guido Brunetti’s wife, Paola, visits him inquiring whether someone who had been convicted of a crime and is now dead could be officially cleared if shown innocent. Brunetti is not given enough information initially, but the question peaks his interest. When the student, Claudia Leonardo, is murdered, the question goes from being a matter of curiosity to an investigation.
Leon is a wonderful writer. Her writing is intelligent, literary and thought provoking with cracking good dialogue. She is merciless toward the tempering of historical information, the corruption of the government and American tourists. She imbues her story with an underlying theme; in this case, honour.
Leon gives us such wonderful characters in Brunetti, about whose childhood we learn more, his wife, Paola, and the strength of their 20-year marriage, and the intriguing Signorina Elettra. One cares about her characters; not only the principals but, in this case, Claudia and her grandmother, because of the strength of her central, Brunetti. The city of Venice is almost another character in the story.
The sense of place is so strong as is the obvious love Brunetti has for his city, in spite of its faults. Yet, coming back to the theme of honour, Brunetti would have left his city because of a point of honour.  The descriptions of the family meals make one want to join them.
Under all this, is a well-plotted, fascinating, couldn’t-tell-where-it-was-going story. It is nice that the reader learns the information at the same time as Brunetti. When he is lead down the wrong path, so are we; when he begins to suspect, so do we.
Wilful Behavior” is another excellent book from of Ms. Leon.  The best part is there are many more books that follow.

WILFUL BEHAVIOUR (Pol. Prod.-Ins. Guido Brunetti-Venice, Italy-Cont) - Ex
      Leon, Donna – 11th in series
      Arrow Books, 2003

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