Fatal Remedies – Donna Leon

Another Italian sleuth recommendation from John Gyford, and handily he’d left two Donna Leons at the caravan for our August visit. For some reason I’d always assumed that as Donna Leon is American, she would be writing novels set in America. How wrong I was!

Commissario Guido Brunetti is Aurelio Zen with a settled family life and less violent crimes to solve. Set in modern day Venice, I get the feeling the two should know one another, at the very least. From the picture drawn by the two authors, there can’t be that many honest senior cops in that part of Italy!

In Fatal Remedies, Brunetti is faced with the dilemma of how to “investigate” his wife’s principles-led act of vandalism – throwing a brick through the window of a travel agency she believes caters for child sex tourism to South East Asia. Not having read the preceding novels, it’s hard to assess the full extent of the pressure this puts on the Brunetti’s marriage. They seem a strong committed couple, but this commitment comes into conflict with their commitments to their principles – Guido to upholding the law, Paola’s to protesting against social evils that appear to be beyond the long arm of the law.

The plot isn’t entirely focused on the Brunettis – when the owner of the travel agency dies, more sinister crimes than Paola’s come in to play. And I love Signorina Eletra, the mild mannered secretary with a vast network of contacts in Italy’s organs of state, and l33t hacker skillz. She brings a bit of the world of James Bond to the tale.

Amazon.co.uk link: Fatal Remedies – Donna Leon
Leon’s Brunetti books in Order