It’s a Mystery: A Sea of Troubles, by Donna Leon


A Sea of Troubles (Commissario Brunetti, #10)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fisherman and his son die in a fiery boat explosion on the island of Pellestrina, a barrier island near Venice. Commissario Brunetti is assigned to investigate, and when, as always, he seeks research assistance from Signorina Elletra, she takes it into her head to visit her relatives on the island and do some unofficial undercover work. Brunetti is most discomfited by her decision, and though he tries to dissuade her, feels he can’t give her orders about where to take her vacation. He should have taken a firmer stand.

This tenth entry into the Brunetti series gives readers a deeper glimpse into his inner, emotional life. The knowledge that Elletra could be in serious danger becomes an obsession that threatens to derail his professional objectivity, a situation that comes to the attention of his wife, Paola. When the inevitable problems arise at Pellestrin, Brunetti has difficulty restraining his natural impulses. What makes this novel so interesting for those familiar with the long back story is watching how his mistakes play themselves out. There will be more fatalities.

As always, Leon’s knowledge of Venice and its environs, her understanding of human nature, and her very natural and fallible characters make for compelling reading. And it’s fun to visit some of the places near La Serenissima.

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