Sunday, April 29, 2012

Leon, Donna (About Face)

Woah, I'm way behind in my Donna Leon reading. There are at least 2 more waiting for me after finishing this one, so I better get cracking.

This is maybe not one of her better ones, although the twist was not what I expected. Of course it has all the usual peevishness about the state of our (and not just Italian) society, the ludicrous pairing of the law and the environment, and the deplorable lack of intelligence in everyone except Leon's favored few. It does not lack in its other usual aspects, such as the glory of Italian everyday cooking and the enigma of Venice itself. Oh! And we get a female Commissario finally. That took Leon, the ultra-feminist, a damn long time to come up with.

It still surprises me that Leon remains a joy to read. It has to be extraordinarily difficult to pull off an intriguing mystery setting over the course of 18 novels, and I'd say she does a better job than others who've managed to hang on that long. Again, though, maybe not her best: I would say that was "Through a Glass, Darkly." But if you've never tried her Guido Brunetti mystery series do yourself a favor and start at the beginning, and then book your next trip to Venice because you'll be dying to visit after the first one.

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