Friday, 3 May 2013

Donna Leon: Brunetti 21 - Beastly things

When a body is found floating in a canal, strangely disfigured and with multiple stab wounds, Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate and is convinced he recognises the man from somewhere. However, with no identification except for the distinctive shoes the man was wearing, and no reports of people missing from the Venice area, the case cannot progress. Brunetti soon realises why he remembers the dead man, and asks Signorina Elettra if she can help him find footage of a farmers' protest the previous autumn. But what was his involvement with the protest, and what does it have to do with his murder? Acting on the fragile lead, Brunetti and Inspector Vianello set out to uncover the man's identity. Their investigation eventually takes them to a slaughterhouse on the mainland, where they discover the origin of the crime, and the world of blackmail and corruption that surrounds it.

Having noticed that I hadn't read the latest two Brunetti cases, I was very keen to get my hands on them again after such a long time, especially as I'm planning to visit Venice again this summer. As always, I enjoyed the Venetian setting and the Italian charm of the crime fiction and I also enjoyed the story line around Dottore Nava. However, I found that this book included more ramblings about politics, corruption and EU policies than any of the previous novels. I wouldn't have minded that too much if it had been part of a character's views, but often this was the narrator's voice and as such actually slowed the story down. A shame...

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