Monday, April 1, 2013

The Golden Egg by Donna Leon

This weekend was a productive one for me and I'm happy to announce that for once, I finished one novel and started another. I usually try to do as little as possible on weekends. Friday night through Sunday morning are my days to just unwind and not worry about what needs to be read, reviewed, or how will my commute to work be. I am not including a book by Martine Lacombe named Silver Orphan but will instead open with The Golden Egg by Donna Leon.

I have been interested in reading a book  by Donna Leon for a long time. Her books have been listed on mystery lists that I peruse to the tune of must-reads. I usually go for the must-reads. They are in fact usually must-reads. Her novels feature Commissario Brunetti and is located in Venice. The Golden Egg is the 22nd book in this series. Of course I'm extremely late to the party but I'm glad I came.

I started this novel with intentions of just reading the first few chapters. Eventually, I was 40% in with no thoughts of slowing down. The novel tells the story of Commissario Brunetti who's tasked with investigating an incident involving the mayor's future daughter-in-law. Much to his chagrin, he isn't interested in helping his boss Vice Questore Patta or his political ambitions, but does it anyway. Brunetti is clearly a good guy and I can understand why this novel is his 22nd.

Brunetti's wife, Paola, asks him to investigate the death of a mentally handicapped boy that works at their laundry. He has overdosed on sleeping pills but Paola is worried that he died alone and doesn't want that to be the case. Eventually, Brunetti is convinced that there is something wrong when there is no definitive way of identifying the boy. As far as the Italian government is concerned, he doesn't exist. The mother of the boy insists that the boy's papers were stolen in a robbery but she is hesitant to talk to the police.

My opinion of the book so far is that it's definitely well-written and Leon had me hooked from the first page. It's not the in your face, gruesome type of thriller but a genuine mystery so far. With Venice as the backdrop, Leon paints the landscape vividly through her descriptions. For this novel to be so far into a series, the characters are really shining through with their personalities. They aren't the painted as the brash officers usually associated with American police, but they are still engaging and able to hold my attention. I'm going to get back to my reading now so... Let's Read!

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