Striking gold

Followers of Bookhound will know that I've been less than impressed by Donna Leon's more recent novels about her likeable Venetian detective Commisario Brunetti. So, I was thrilled to discover The Golden Egg  (published 2013) which marks a cracking return to form.

Brunetti is sad to learn that a deaf-mute man with learning difficulties who helped out at a local laundrette had died. Even sadder, when he discovers that the man appeared to have committed suicide. But the whole story takes an odd turn when his friend, the pathologist, contacts him having been unable to find any proof that the man had ever existed. Brunetti unearths a long buried tale of chilling moral standards and cruelty, and finds that his beloved city has plenty of people who are only too willing to look the other way, rather than respond to inhuman behaviour.

As far as crime novels go, it's not your standard read. There is no drama here, and no big criminals. That out of this domesticity Leon weaves such a harrowing tale is an acknowledgement of her skill as a writer. It wouldn't be my favourite of her crime novels; but this is one of her best.

Truly chilling. A read that refuses to be forgotten.


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