It’s a Mystery: Girl of His Dreams, by Donna Leon

How and why

Bravo, Donna Leon, for writing a mystery novel that delves into the underpinnings of crime and society. Italy, like all western European nations, is struggling with a huge influx of immigrants from other cultures. Now Europe must struggle with the problems that have been ongoing in the US for a couple of centuries. As I’ve said in other Leon reviews, Guido Brunetti is perhaps the most humanistic of all series detectives published today. In this outing, he must cope with the drowning of a “Rom” (Gypsy) child who was involved in an apartment robbery. Her face haunts him as he goes about his business, trying to discover what happened and why. Leon is brilliant at portraying the clash between cultures and consciences. Girl of His Dreams does the best job yet of bringing to the forefront the difficulties of reconciling legal and humanitarian needs. This is not an easy book to read; there are, in fact, moments of discomfort awaiting the reader. But it’s an eloquent and important book, one that deserves attention and thought.

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