Monday, February 6, 2012

Beastly Things-Donna Leon

Beastly Things

Donna Leon

Atlantic Monthly, Apr 3 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9780802120236

In Venice, the corpse of a drowning victim with one shoe is found in a canal. Venice Questura Commissario Guido Brunetti leads the inquiry as the deceased may have drowned but it was a cut into a major vein that left him helpless when he was dumped into the water. The M.E. Dr. Rizzardi explains the man with no identity and a battered visage was in reasonable health for a fortyish person though he suffered from the rare genetic disorder Madeling’s Disease that left his neck and chest seem abnormally fat.

Brunetti realizes when he saw the victim and soon knows where he can get a photo of the man’s face. He and Inspector Vianello start with a shoe store that leads them to another branch in Mestre until they learn the identity is that of Dr. Andrea Nava, veterinarian. He was estranged from his wife for having an affair and working two jobs, his practice and at a meat factory.

The latest Commissario Guido Brunetti Venetian police procedural is a super whodunit as readers follow the interesting investigation. Brunetti and Vianello are marvelous as they piece together clues mostly using old fashion shoe leather but also ably supported by the IT gurus Signorina Elettra and Pucetti. Beastly Things is a super whodunit, as the lead detectives’ reaction to the meat factory will turn many readers into vegetarians.

Harriet Klausner

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