Monday, January 16, 2012

A Sea of Troubles

A Sea of Troubles
by Donna Leon, narrated by David Colacci, 8hrs. 7 mins., August 2011

...the tenth novel in this series is every bit as good as earlier ones.

I have always enjoyed the Donna Leon series with Commissario Guido Brunetti as the protagonist and the city of Venice as the backdrop. This is the tenth novel in the series and it is every bit as good as earlier ones. There are a couple of hallmarks of this series. There is always an environmental theme, there is always a slice of Venetian life, and there are always wonderful passages about Italian food and drink. Leon recognizes the corruption and dishonesty of what is the Italian government and despite it has Brunetti working for justice.
This story is centered on the island of Pellistrina, which is a barrier island between the Venetian lagoon and the Adriatic Sea. A tight knit community of fisherman (the Vongolari) closes ranks when the murders of two local fishermen come under police investigation. Nobody would ever describe this story as a thriller but the mystery rolls along at a relaxed pace as Brunetti attempts to know the community on the island. Signorina Electra, beautiful secretary to his superior, insists on visiting relatives on the island in an attempt to dig up information that will solve the murder. Brunetti though loyal to his wife finds himself obsessed with Electra’s safety causing some stress in his marriage and some loss of focus on the key parts of the murder investigation. As Brunetti oversees the investigation we learn more about the deteriorating conditions that challenge the centuries old fishing industry of Venice. There is always a little despair and cynicism in Brunetti’s response to Italian government corruption and it is in evidence here. Despite the obstacles, the investigation moves forward and Brunetti identifies the killer. As he moves to arrest the killer nature intervenes with a legendary storm and chaos ensues. In these stories the mystery takes a back seat to the people and panorama of Venice, but here the denouement holds much more suspense than is usual.

For the first time, I listened to this story rather than read it. I really enjoyed it. The narrator, David Colacci, with a great Italian accent enriched the experience.

I listened to a copy of this novel borrowed from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

It sounds like this book had a lot of moving parts, and that they were all pretty satisfying to you. I haven't heard a lot about these books, but your review makes me think that I might like to give them a try. Very detailed and thoughtful analysis today. I loved it!