Sunday, 11 April 2010

Donna Leon: Brunetti 16 - Suffer the little children

When Commissario Brunetti is summoned to the hospital bedside of a senior pediatrician whose skull has been fractured, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three Carabinieri have burst into the doctor’s apartment in the middle of the night, attacked him and taken away his eighteen-month old baby. What can have motivated such a violent assault by the police? But then Brunetti begins to uncover a story of infertility, desperation, and an underworld in which babies can be bought for cash, at the same time as Inspector Vianello uncovers a money-making scam between pharmacists and doctors in the city. But one of the pharmacists is motivated by more than thoughts of gain - the power of knowledge and delusions of moral rectitude can be as destructive and powerful as love of money. And the uses of information about one's neighbours can lead to all kinds of corruption and all sorts of pain…

This was a quick and interesting crime story although it was not in the typical fashion of Donna Leon. There were many sections where Brunetti and Paola or Vianello are discussing ethical issues relating to having children illegally and then having those taken away to orphanages.

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