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Celebrated by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers, Donna Leon brings us the twentieth Commissario Brunetti detective novel in this gripping Venice based crime series.

When Anna Maria Giusti returns from holiday to find her elderly neighbour Constanza Altavilla dead, with blood on the floor near her head, she immediately alerts the police. Commissario Brunetti is called to the scene and it seems the woman has suffered a fatal heart attack. Patta, the Vice-Questore, is eager to dismiss the case as a death from natural causes, but Brunetti believes that there is more to it. It soon transpires that there are some faint bruises around her neck and shoulders, indicating she may have been shaken. Could this have caused a heart attack? Was someone threatening her?

Meanwhile, Brunetti meets Signora Altavilla’s son, Niccolini, who tells him that since her retirement she had been helping out at a nearby nursing home. Brunetti visits the home with Ispettore Vianello to try and find any information that might be connected to the case. While they speak to those she spent the most time with, it appears that there is some hostility between the residents which raises Brunetti’s suspicions. Once again, he enlists the help of Signorina Elettra, who discovers that Signora Altavilla was involved with an organisation that helped women at risk, providing them with a safe house. Could this have something to do with her death?

As the investigation takes an unexpected twist in events, Brunetti needs to find out the truth before it gets buried within a community that seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into deception and lies.

Reviews

[Leon's] portrait of Venice and modern Italy is, as always, captivating...The lively conversations between...characters, displaying Leon's sly humour, are a delight.

Evening Standard

With characteristic skill, Leon draws together multiple threads and a well-rounded cast ... With the steady, unsentimental style that has become her signature, Donna Leon keeps us hesitating until the last corner is turned.

Times Literary Supplement

Leon's clear-eyed descriptions of Venice still make you long to return to the calles and campos of the floating city.

Sunday Telegraph

More elegant, understated crime fighting from the mistress of La Serinissima...A welcome return to the comfortable characters and locations that her fans have come to love.

Independent

[Leon] is a master at weaselling her way into the venal byways of human selfishness and laying them bare. ... There's a quietness to the crimes here that is more powerful than outlandish violence, and which points to the philosophical bedrock from which Leon so effectively works.

Scottish Sunday Herald

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099559764

    May 1, 2012

    Arrow

    320 pages

    RRP $24.99

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  • EBook

    9781446457795

    April 1, 2011

    Cornerstone Digital

    320 pages

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