Guido Brunetti, the protagonist of Donna Leon's brilliant series about crime in high and low places in Venice, Italy, is back in a smart thriller about a murdered street vendor, one of the illegal immigrants who sell fake fashion accessories outside the tourist mecca's high-priced boutiques while trying to stay one step ahead of the law. Someone had a reason for wanting the nameless African man dead, and the search for the killers and the men who sent them to Brunetti's beloved and beautifully evoked city shortly before Christmas leads the thoughtful, multifaceted and uxorious Commissario to the unfamiliar Venetian milieu where the vu cumpra live. In the cramped, airless room where the Senegalese vendors manage to find shelter, Guido discovers a fortune in so-called "conflict diamonds" hidden among the murdered man's meager belongings. But finding the diamonds' provenance and the killers who were seeking them proves to be an exercise in bureaucratic misdirection. Warned off the case by his boss in the name of "national security," Guido nonetheless persists with his investigation, in the course of which he discovers what--and who--really matters to him. Leon depicts the city she also clearly loves with such skill the reader can almost hear the watter lapping at the edges of the canals and smell the espresso beans roasting in the crisp cold winter air. A tour de force from an author whose reputation for skillful plotting, extraordinary descriptive powers, and complex characters has earned her a loyal base of fans; if you haven't discovered her work before this, Blood from a Stone will only whet your appetite for her extensive backlist of titles featuring Brunetti and his colleagues.|
Source: Jane Adams, Amazon.com.