For more than a decade Donna Leon has been a bestseller in Europe with a series of mysteries featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. Always ready to bend the rules to solve a crime, Brunetti manages to maintain his integrity while maneuvering through a city rife with politics, corruption, and intrigue.
In Uniform Justice, a young cadet has been found hanged, a presumed suicide, in Venice's elite military academy. Brunetti's sorrow for the boy, so close in age to his own son, is rivaled only by his contempt for a community that is more concerned with protecting the reputation of the school, and its privileged students, than with finding the truth. The young man's father is a doctor and former politician. He is a man of an impeccable integrity who inexplicably avoids talking to the police. As Brunetti pursues his inquiry, he is faced with a wall of silence. Is the military protecting its own? Or has Brunetti uncovered a conspiracy far more sinister than that of a single death?
In this superb novel, Leon's latest in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series (A Noble Radiance, etc.), the Venetian police detective and family man is summoned to the exclusive San Martino Military Academy, where Cadet Ernesto Moro has been found dead, hanging in the lavatory. The other cadets and the academy brass give a chilly reception to any "civilians" who trespass into their midst, including the Venetian police. Believing Cadet Moro was the victim of homicide rather than suicide, Brunetti traces a sinister trail that leads to the dead boy's father, a doctor-turned-politician who once revealed then ducked the ramifications of a military procurement scandal. This is not the Venice of Thomas Mann or Henry James-the palazzos, gondoliers and Doges' monuments are all but overlooked. Leon's city is winter-cold and gray, with corruption rather than gilt glinting through the fog, and a culture in the grip of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy that runs on secrets and bribes. Humane and intelligent, a good man working in an impossible system, Brunetti displays an acerbic, economical wisdom. The plot flows along like the Adriatic tide through a narrow canal-swift, none-too-clean and inevitable. This is an outstanding book, deserving of the widest audience possible, a chance for American readers to again experience a master practitioner's art.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc
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April 05, 2004
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