This is, I think, the third Commissario Brunetti book I’ve read, and I think it’s the worst of that trio. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s not bad. Venice remains as much at the forefront as ever, and the snippets of Brunetti’s home life are as warming as I have come to expect.
However, the storyline let this one down a little. It’s about the environment, which isn’t really something I read about to relax. Leon manages to keep my interest in quite a dry subject because her writing style always strikes me as so intimate; I really feel like I’m there, in Venice, stressing about the pollution from Marghera with the rest of them.
The murder didn’t take place till about half way through, and this further reinforced the impression that this book is really just about the environment. I suppose you could class the murder of the lagoon by the chemical waste as the initial murder, if you were feeling that way inclined.
In the end, the final factor which leads me to give this book only 4/5 is that the crime really became a part of the background, and I didn’t get the details I was circling around in a vulture like fashion, waiting for.
It still made me want to return to Venice though, and given my complicated feelings towards Italy, I think that certainly justifies my score. That and the fact that I hoovered it up in three days.