Friday 23 August 2013

Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti, #1)Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“A policeman, married to a thief, with a computer monster and an anarchist for children”

Whenever I start a new book by a female author, I start suffering from the PD James-Syndrome, which simplified, means that whether this book will turn out to be another mediocre fiction in the garb of Crime Writing, with nothing to get excited about, and everything (from reading to the money spent on the book) to be sad about. Why PD James-Syndrome? Because this kind of things generally happens with me after reading her books. But a couple of chapters down the line, Donna Leon settled my anxiety, and gifted me with a fast paced police procedural, which not being too much dependent on either violence or twisted plot, was enjoyed by me.

Helmut Wellauer dies while conducting an opera at Teatro la Fenice. Almost immediately, foul play is suspected and Commissario Guido Brunetti is called on the scene to be handed the responsibility of uncovering the culprit. The plot, was moderate, nothing over the top. For a debut author, it was good as she managed to end the book with a solution which although never left me open mouthed with surprise, but nonetheless made me feel satisfied on reading a good work of crime fiction.

Commisario Brunetti is a family man, and as described in the quote above, married to a schoolteacher who cheats at Monopoly, having a son who is a young radical Communist, but never stops at driving a hard bargain in Monopoly, and a daughter who pesters her father for a personal computer. Although the main plot in itself doesn’t have any traces of humour, but the personal conversations between the family members, specially the conversations during the playing of Monopoly, really gets the reader tickled in the right places.

Summing up, this is a wonderful addition to my reading experience, and although not being over the top or being the epitome of twists, this book will be enjoyed by any reader who loves reading police procedurals.

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