Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Question of Belief-Donna Leon

A Question of Belief
Donna Leon
Atlantic Monthly, May 1 2010, $24.00
ISBN 9780802119421

August is always hot in Venice, but police Commisario Guido Brunetti feels a different kind of heat as the tourists seem underfoot everywhere and the cop wants to escape the city with his family into the cooling mountains. The Commune employment records supervisor Toni Brusca makes a strong case that women can prove to be more deviously criminal than men; the evidence provided is the court record of a female judge who postpones cases that benefit one side.

As Brunetti ponders the allegation of misconduct on the bench, he knows he can do nothing about it though he wonders if the judge in question is skimming personal profit from the advantages she gives to one team. Since he has no play in the latest judicial corruption as Italy has become the perfect capitalist government run by sleaze and dishonesty, Brunetti begins to shut down with his vacation about to begin. Then the violent crime occurs that is in his jurisdiction so though he could sneak away on his R&R pretending not to know, Brunetti begins his investigation with a sigh.

Brunetti is a throwback police detective who believes in the honesty of man though overwhelmingly realizes the Internet with all its positive connectivity also provides another negative source for the powerfully corrupt to skim the system. Fast-paced with a strong cast and a powerful look at Venice and its local government, A Question of belief is a great entry as the hero struggles with what he learns about trust abused for personal gain and as immorality rules. Yet readers know that Diogenes only need to meet him to find an honest person trying to adhere to his values in a system that prefers the lowest ethical denominator.

Harriet Klausner

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