Temptation of Forgiveness
by Leon, Donna

An accident involving the father of a boy suspected of doing drugs finds Commissario Guido Brunetti pursuing a series of false and contradictory leads before uncovering a long-standing scam and unleashing unintentional consequences.

Donna Leon is the author of the highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Donna Leon lived in Venice for many years and now divides her time between Venice and Switzerland.

A typical case for Leon's Venetian police commissario, Guido Brunetti, begins with a request for help and moves from there to a crime; with the investigation that follows comes the agonizing ambiguity that has always been at the heart of this richly rewarding series: guilt and innocence in the eyes of the law, Brunetti knows, rarely capture the human truth behind the apparent wrongdoing he has uncovered. So it is here when a friend of Brunetti's wife comes to him concerned that her son is involved in drugs; shortly thereafter, the woman's husband incurs serious brain damage from a fall that may not have been an accident. The two events seem related, but how? As Brunetti pulls at the dangling threads in this case, he finds himself obligated to take actions whose collateral damage outweighs the meager benefits of solving a crime. Meanwhile, he faces a similar crisis at the Questura, where his longtime collaborator, the wily Signorina Elettra, may have stepped over a line that Brunetti can't erase. Another powerful exploration of the injustice of justice from a master of character-rich crime fiction.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Guido Brunetti may be the most beloved protagonist in crime fiction, and if his shoulders are stooping over so many encounters with human tragedy, his fans will feel only excitement at the prospect of joining him in his twenty-seventh adventure. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A dying drug dealer and an elderly woman dressed in head-to-toe satin are among the lifelong Venetians whose apartments we visit, alongside Commissario Guido Brunetti, in Leon's leisurely 27th mystery. As the book opens, Brunetti has two unsettling meetings. First, his boss, the pompous and dim Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta, calls him into his office to ask about rumors that someone at the Questura has been leaking classified information—and possibly also spreading gossip about Patta's henchman, Lt. Scarpa. Then Brunetti is visited by a woman he recognizes as a colleague of his wife, Paola, who teaches English literature at the university. Professoressa Elisa Crosera thinks her son is in trouble, probably with drugs, and wants Brunetti to solve her problem by arresting whoever's been selling to the students at the boy's expensive private school. "Ah, how wonderful to be able to do that, Brunetti thought. Arrest them and keep them until they went for trial and then have t he judges send them to prison....Pity it didn't work that way." Brunetti checks to make sure the Carabinieri is investigating the problem of drugs in the schools and then, "his conscience salved," puts it out of his head—until a week later, when the professoressa's husband is found unconscious at the bottom of a bridge, unlikely to ever wake up. Could he have threatened a drug dealer? Or perhaps something untoward was going on in his job as an accountant? And what does his elegant but infirm aunt have to do with it? Leon provides the usual pleasures of walking the streets of Venice with Brunetti, guided by the "Venetian system of batlike echolocation" that helps him get around. It's good to see Brunetti admiring his colleague Claudia Griffoni's professional skills and also good that he keeps it to himself when he admires her looks. No one wants their favorite Venetian detective sexually harassing another commissario. The mystery isn't much to write home about, though t h e last few pages do provide Leon's trademark moral ambiguity—even the perpetrator is sympathetic—and, as always, it's a pleasure spending time in Brunetti's world. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

When they were seated, Patta began: "I'd like to speak to you frankly, Commissario." Brunetti ignored the chance this remark gave him to ask how Patta had spoken to him in the past and, instead, nodded and put on a pleasant, interested expression. At least Patta had wasted no time with preliminaries.

"It's about leaks," Patta said.

"Leaks?" Brunetti asked, resisting the urge to look at the ceiling.

"From the Questura," Patta continued.

Ah, that kind of leaks, Brunetti told himself and wondered what Patta had in mind. Nothing embarrassing had appeared in either Il Gazzettino or La Nuova di Venezia for some time, so Brunetti was without advance warning about what information might be leaking from the Questura.

"These leaks, sir: could you tell me more about them?"

"I wanted to speak to you, Brunetti, because you know people here," Patta said, reminding Brunetti that this was still the old Patta, for whom any information about the inner workings of the Questura was to be treated as part of the Delphic Mysteries.

Brunetti waved a hand in the air, either to dismiss those hidden truths Patta believed he knew or perhaps to summon them from the vasty deep.

"They talk to you," Patta insinuated. Hearing Patta's suspicion relaxed Brunetti and told him that, though the subject might be new, the old, adversarial order had been restored. He tossed away his momentary warming towards Patta and returned to his native good sense.

"What is it you think they've been talking about Vice-Questore?"

Patta cleared his throat with a small noise. "I've heard rumors that some people are displeased with Lieutenant Scarpa," Patta said, struggling, it seemed, to keep indignation from his voice. Then, more calmly, as though he considered it of lesser importance, he added, "It also seems that someone has been talking about a person brought in for questioning."

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