CHARACTERS ä Trace Elements

Donna Leon Ê 1 CHARACTERS

CHARACTERS ä Trace Elements ´ When Dottoressa Donato calls the uestura to report that a dying patient at the hospice Fatebenefratelli wants to speak to the police Commissario Guido Brunetti and his colleague Claudia Griffoni waste no time in responding“They killed him It was bad money I told him no” Benedetta Toso gasps the words about her recently Ppears to be a private family tragedy They discover that Fadalto worked in the field collecting samples of contamination for a company that measures the cleanliness of Venice’s water supply and that he had died in a mysterious motorcycle accident Distracted briefly by Vice uestore Patta’s obsession with youth crime in Venice Brunetti is bolstered once by the remarkable research skills of Patta’s secretary Signora Elettra Zorzi Piecing together the tangled threads i. A uandary for BrunettiTwo seemingly simple cases that had no connection A couple of Roma girls have pick pocketed the wife of a powerful person who wants them out of Venice in case further enuiries open up something they don't want exposed A dying woman who has something to confess to the policeAs investigations unfold both cases are a minefield of complexities for Commissari Guido Brunetti and Claudia Griffoni As always they are ably assisted by the highly efficient Signorina Elettra whose computer skills allow them into places that they normally couldn't accessOne case involves a uestion of the health of the planet Both cases speak to what the powerful are able to get away with Brunetti is faced with conflicting choicesAs Brunetti summarizes his reflections and the uestions the situation demands we are reminded of his love of mythologies of the pastHis thoughts turned to the Eumenides and the characters’ desperate search for an understanding of justice based on something other than vengeanceBrunetti was both accuser and accused He had to decide which crime to punish which to ignore and choose the greater criminal or the better oddsAs always a complex yet rewarding read Leon's underlying themes of the environment politics graft and corruption bubble away rising to the surface throughout It took me sometime to understand the title I was as confused as Brunetti until we both weren'tA Grove Atlantic ARC via NetGalley

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N time Brunetti comes to realize the perilous meaning in the woman’s accusation and the threat it reveals to the health of the entire region But justice in this case proves to be ambiguous as Brunetti is reminded it can be when seeking solace he reads Aeschylus’s classic play The EumenidesAs she has done so often through her memorable characters and storytelling skill Donna Leon once again engages our sensibilities as to the differences between guilt and responsibili. Brunetti receives an unusual reuest a woman in hospice reuests a visit from the police He and Claudia Griffoni meet with the young woman who is not only dying but also has just lost her husband They investigate the circumstances surrounding his death and as in may of Leon's other novels we learn of corruption in Venice It is wonderful to revisit these favorite characters again even if it does get depressing to hear about all of the corruption in Brunetti's beautiful city Thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for the ARC

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Trace ElementsWhen Dottoressa Donato calls the uestura to report that a dying patient at the hospice Fatebenefratelli wants to speak to the police Commissario Guido Brunetti and his colleague Claudia Griffoni waste no time in responding“They killed him It was bad money I told him no” Benedetta Toso gasps the words about her recently deceased husband Vittorio Fadalto Even though he is not sure she can hear him Brunetti softly promises he and Griffoni will look into what initially a. In her 29th book featuring Guido Brunetti Commissario of police in Venice Donna Leon has once again provided a storyline in which for the most part it’s not actually certain that a crime has been committed Brunetti and his colleague Claudio Griffoni are asked to attend the hospice bedside of a 38 year old woman Benedetta Toso who is suffering from cancer Not only is she certain to die soon but her husband Vittorio was just recently killed when his motorcycle went off the road and he drowned in a ditch Benedetta has two daughters who are being cared for by her sister It’s clear that the dying woman is severely distressed and trying to get a message across to them but she’s barely able to talk and they can only really pick up a few sentences It seems that Vittorio had recently reuired some ‘bad’ money and Benedetta believes that this was somehow the cause of his death It’s not much to go on but its all they haveOften in this series apart from the case or cases being investigated the focus has been on the people associated with Brunetti – his family friends and colleagues – and long standing readers like me have become familiar with a small group of characters who regularly pop up In this instalment we become acuainted with Griffoni who is a relatively new character in the life of these books but a person with whom Guido has become professionally close to in the past few years To this point I'd found her to be something of an enigma a private person with a keen brain and strong interpersonal skills but somebody who is really all business with little known of her life outside of the police department Here her personality is fleshed out somewhat and we find that she can be charming but she has a uick tempered prickly side too She's able to put Brunetti on edge and few people are able to do thatAs the story develops we learn that Vittorio worked for a company charged with maintaining the integrity of Venice’s water supply He was a collector of samples that he delivered to the company’s lab for testing There’s no clear evidence from the case file that his death was anything but an accident and no witnesses have come forward to add to the little knowledge the police have regarding the incident But we’ve been here before with Brunetti and we know that his intuition clever uestioning and nose for deception will dig up the truth if indeed there is anything to be found It’s summer and everyone is suffering from the extreme heat Guido than most He cogitates on the detail and regularly retreats to one of the local bars for a coffee and a glass or two of mineral water escaping both the heat and the crowds In truth I’m not altogether satisfied with the way this episode ultimately plays out It’s not that I don’t give credence to the actions described but that I wonder at the morality of the solution I’ll say no and allow readers to draw their own views on this point But that’s always a side issue for me The characters and the city of Venice bring me back to this series time and again Donna Leon has created a world in which I can disappear and go with the flow enjoying the atmosphere and even the taste and smell of the place as I imbibe the descriptions so deliciously drawn I really love these books Hurry back Guido – I want My thanks to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for providing an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review