While many books can take you on adventures in new places, give you new ideas to contemplate, and introduce you to new and complex characters, there is comfort in curling up to drop in on old friends. I love a good mystery (OK, even some not-so-good ones) and a good mystery series is even better. I will not bore everyone by carrying on about every book in a series, but I will occasionally highlight the one I’ve most recently read, hoping it will inspire someone else to check it out!
I just recently finished the 12th installment in Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The series takes place in Venice and is one of the rare books where the location itself is a main character. In Leon’s series it is easy to become absorbed in the descriptions of Venice, the canals, the architecture, the art, the fashion, the food (which all sounds fabulous even when I’m not sure what it is!). Against this backdrop of beauty Leon writes about a corrupt city void of trust in the law, where things get done based on who you know and what you are willing to pay. Commissario Guido Brunetti is a man of honor, struggling within this system, often walking a thin line between pursuing justice and using a corrupt system he abhors in order to do so. Brunetti is surrounded by a cast of vivid characters including both trusted and devious co-workers, an inept boss, a sly and useful secretary, and a loyal, opinionated, out-spoken, and supportive wife. It is against this backdrop that these mysteries become less about who-dun-it and more about why and what to do with the answers. How can justice truly be served? Can justice be found at all?
“Brunetti had no taste for this, not any longer. ‘There’s no justice here, Dottore,’ he said, frightened to realize that he meant not only for this man and his family, but for this city, and this country, and their lives.”
The 22nd installment of the series will be release in March of this year, leaving me many more hours to spend curled up on the couch with Brunetti!
Title: Uniform Justice
Author: Donna Leon
Publication: Atlantic Monthly Press, August 2003