Posts tagged ‘Donna Leon’

June 20, 2017

Earthly Remains, by Donna Leon

by Team Riverside

Hardback, Cornerstone, £18.99, out nowDonna Leon EARTHLY REMAINS

Commissario Brunetti, the senior Venetian police officer and star of Leon’s previous books, is sent to recuperate from stress in a secluded house on Sant’Erasmo, an island in Venice’s laguna.  While there he makes friends with a local man.  They spend days rowing in the laguna, tending to the man’s bees, and talking.  But the bees start to die, and then his friend is found dead…

I have read many of the Brunetti books, and this is the best so far in my view.  Set in Venice, the books are stuffed with spectacular surroundings, wonderful food, and chaotic corruption in public life.  They are easy to read, and strangely addictive.

Brunetti wrestles with what is right when dealing with crimes, but also when dealing with the opaque and shifting concerns of the various authority figures he comes across, and as he addresses the other complexities of family and political life. I don’t always agree with the politics presented in the books, but I have a sneaking fondness for his arch and progressive wife Paula.

A previous winner of the prestigious Silver Dagger Crime Writing Award, Donna Leon has maintained both her popularity and the quality of her work over a long and impressive career.  Ecological themes feature increasingly strongly in her work, as this interview makes clear, and this only adds to the relevance of her work (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/15/donna-leon-interview-commissario-brunetti-earthly-remains).  Earthly Remains is a thoughtful, interesting summer read.

Review by Bethan

October 14, 2012

Andrea Camilleri: Inspector Montalbano

by Andre


THE Scandinavian invasion has defined crime fiction in recent years as we embraced chilly, bleak and ingeniously gruesome novels from Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo and Hakan Nesser. Perhaps readers are now ready for a warmer crime climate. Just as Mankell’s Wallander novels benefited from TV adaptations, 87-year-old Andrea Camilleri’s enjoying a sales boost for his Sicilian policiers thanks to the Inspector Montalbano TV series on BBC4.

Montalbano is hot-blooded but astute, a dedicated investigator with his own moral code. Italian society’s problems – corruption, the mafia, political instability – add a dose of disturbing reality to Camilleri’s concise yet labyrinthine crime stories. This veteran author’s observations on his country enrich these novels as much as Montalbano’s obvious pleasure in Sicilian cuisine: in The Potter’s Field (published in paperback in November) the detective breaks off from his investigation to tuck into a picnic including a whole tumazzo cheese and a flask of wine. Beginning with The Shape of Water, there are 14 Montalbano novels to be devoured. Follow that feast with Marco Vichi’s series set in 1960s Florence, featuring the reflective Inspector Bordelli, a former partisan and dedicated gourmand whose favourite pork chops recipe is printed at the back of the second novel, Death and the Olive Grove. Italian crime series by Michael Dibdin, Donna Leon and Gianrico Carofiglio are also worth investigating.