I loved Donna Leon’s first Brunetti mystery, Death at LaFenice, which, like all of her novels, takes place in Venice. The setting is critical to Ms. Leon’s series and she truly brings it to life in each of her novels. I am currently reading the forthcoming Unto Us a Son is Born (thank you NetGalley) and can already tell that I will be giving it many stars.
My Venice is about this expatriate author’s life in her chosen city. It is an e-book bargain for today.
The many thousands of readers who love Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti mysteries love them for multiple reasons, the least of which is probably their plots. Not that there is anything wrong with those plots, but it is the side dishes surrounding the plots that entrance us, especially the character of the cynical yet sensitive Brunetti and the way he interacts with his family. So it is with the essays in this collection of Leon’s brief nonfiction writings. Whether she is musing about Venice, expressing not only an appealing crankiness about garbage or Bermuda shorts–wearing tourists but also an unassailable love of the human interaction that the city’s car-free status makes possible; or about her love for classical music; or her mixed reactions to America; or her thoughts on men, she never fails to explore the periphery of her topic, deepening her theme and giving it context and nuance. A favorite? How about “With Barbara Vine,” in which two celebrated mystery writers chat about their favorite ways of doing somebody in (“Oh, I love a good push down the step”)? –Bill Ott