Title: Death at La Fenice
Author: Donna Leon
Series: Commissario Brunetti #1
There is little violent crime in Venice, a serenely beautiful floating city of mystery and magic, history and decay. But the evil that does occasionally rear its head is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane vice-commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable abilities must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world-renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice. But as the investigation unfolds, a chilling picture slowly begins to take shape–a detailed portrait of revenge painted with vivid strokes of hatred and shocking depravity. And the dilemma for Guido Brunetti will not be finding a murder suspect, but rather narrowing the choices down to one. . . .
I read this while in holiday in Venice. I will admit reading it while in the location the book was set probably increased my enjoyment a lot more. I got a much more real feel for the setting as I could match descriptions up with the real life places as I walked past. I felt this book did lack a little of what it was like to move between the islands and around the city which for Venice is such a unique experience.
However I really enjoyed Brunetti as a character I liked how down to earth and settled he was in his life so that it feels we are just joining him in an average days work. I like that he has a loving family and wife and that he is well established in his career without being a superstar success it just makes him more realistic. The plot was great, it took me a little while to adjust to the time, this was written 30+ years ago so it was still mentioning Lira etc which took some thinking to convert into the equivalent to Euros and little details like that. It took a rather dark twist near the end that I really did not see coming and that was a bit of a shock.
I think I might try some more in this series.