Give Unto Others
by Leon, Donna

As a favor Brunetti investigates the accountant son-in-law of his mother's friend after he alarmed the family by suggesting they might be in danger because of his line of work in the latest novel of the series following Transient Desires.

Donna Leon, born in New Jersey in 1942, has worked as a travel guide in Rome and as a copywriter in London. She taught literature in universities in Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia. Commissario Brunetti made her books world-famous. Donna Leon lived in Italy for many years, and although she now lives in Switzerland, she often visits Venice.

*Starred Review* Even with Venice slowly emerging from the worst of the pandemic, the bodies of dead shops still line the canals, and most people shun the casual touching that was once a fixture of social interaction. In this newly distanced world, police commissario Guido Brunetti finds how much he misses the soft, caressing humanity of the past. And, yet, as he learns in this thirty-first episode in Leon's celebrated series, human connectedness can sometimes metastasize into a tangled mess of obligations. So it happens when a woman from Brunetti's own past, Elisabetta Foscarini, appears in his office, asking for the commissario's help. As a child, Brunetti had limited contact with the older Foscarini, but he knows that her mother was a friend to his mother and feels obligated to conduct an off-the-books investigation of whether Foscarini's son-in-law, an accountant, is involved in something shady. The line between an official and unofficial investigation is muddled when Brunetti and several of his colleagues uncover threads that might connect Foscarini's family to criminal activities, leaving Guido in an all-too-familiar quandary, weighing personal against professional obligations. Once again, Brunetti's remarkable empathy with people takes him into shark-infested waters, forced to confront how revenge, that deformed child of justice, fed itself with blind desire. Another moving meditation on the vagaries of human relationships posing as a mystery novel.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: There is no ambiguity about the unalloyed affection millions of readers' feel toward Guido Brunetti, one of crime fiction's most popular protagonists. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Things are slow at the Questura-perhaps there's less crime in Venice since the pandemic is keeping tourists away?-so Commissario Guido Brunetti has plenty of time to look into something that's been troubling an old neighbor. Brunetti had never really liked Elisabetta Foscarini when they briefly lived in the same building as teenagers, but her mother was kind to him, and more important, she was kind to his mother, who was raising a family with far less money than the Foscarinis. So when Elisabetta comes to see him at the Questura, telling him she's worried about her daughter, Flora, a veterinarian, Brunetti decides to look into it unofficially. Flora's husband, Enrico, is an accountant, and apparently he's been acting funny lately and told Flora it could be dangerous if people found out about something having to do with his work. Enrico helped Elisabetta's husband, Bruno, set up a charity several years earlier, and since then he's been working for a number of small clients. With the help of the usual crew-Commissario Claudia Griffoni, Ispettore Lorenzo Vianello, and the crafty secretary Signorina Elettra Zorzi, who Brunetti is finally prepared to admit (to himself) actually breaks the law in her pursuit of information-Brunetti sets out to interview Enrico's clients and the people involved in Bruno's charity. Then Flora finds her clinic broken into and a dog injured: Is it a warning? This book is classic Leon: Brunetti is less focused on any actual crime than on figuring out whether some other unknown crime has been committed, whether he himself is doing something wrong by using official resources on an unofficial investigation, whether the ends of finding information he needs justifies Signorina Elletra's shadowy means of procuring it: "His opinion of that, he knew, had changed in the last few years, and he had grown more suspicious of the desire to expand the limits of the permissible." Still the next best thing to moving to Venice. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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