Series: Commissario Brunetti #2
Published by Arrow on February 26, 2009 (first published 1993)
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Early one morning Guido Brunetti, Commissario of the Venice Police, confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young man is fished out of a fetid Venetian canal. All the clues point to a violent mugging, but for Brunetti, robbery seems altogether too convenient a motive. Then something very incriminating is discovered in the dead man's flat - something which points to the existence of a high-level cabal - and Brunetti becomes convinced that somebody, somewhere, is taking great pains to provide a ready-made solution to the crime ...
Death in a Strange Country is the second in the long-running series featuring Guido Brunetti, Commissario of the Venice Police. I’ve read several of them, usually out of order. Brunetti is a good character and I like that he has a lovely, intelligent, supportive wife and kids who are pretty typical. This is an early look into the Brunetti family, which is nice. His father-in-law is more present here than in some others; he has enough power to be a force in the city, but even he has limits. Leon also does a fabulous job of bringing Venice to life, the places, the food, the people.
The story begins when a body is discovered in a canal. It looks like a simple mugging, but of course, it leads to a much bigger case. Leon’s books often have topics in addition to the murder plot. Here it’s toxic dumping, environmental issues, and of course corruption.
The plot was well-done and the tension between the American Military base and the locals felt true. As is often the case with Leon’s book, I found the resolution a bit unsatisfying, but I also feel like to a large degree that’s part of the story. Some things just can’t be wrapped up well.