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The Golden Egg

The Golden Egg, March 2013
by Donna Leon

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Featuring: Guido Brunetti; Paola Brunetti
ISBN: 0802121012
EAN: 9780802121011
Kindle: B00B3M46W2
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Venice - a city of beauty and corruption"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Golden Egg
Donna Leon

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted March 17, 2013

Mystery Police Procedural

The Venetian police always seem to have too much time on their hands and too much crime to investigate. Donna Leon's long-running series about Commissario Brunetti does nothing to resolve this apparent contradiction. Faced with increasing burglary figures, the Mayor seeking to have a family scandal covered up and corruption in the local police, her family man detective goes in pursuit of missing identity papers for a suddenly deceased deaf and mute man who worked in a laundry.

Brunetti has long been German-born Leon's vehicle to expose corruption in Italian society. In THE GOLDEN EGG two senior police have this discussion:

"The treasurer of a political party steals thirteen million euros, and the politicians are hysterical about illegal immigration," he said tiredly.

"He offered to give five back," she said with careful honesty.

The beauty and chaos of the water-filled city comes to the fore as always; people talk on telefoninos while taking the vaporetto launch to work, the birds chase lunching tourists for crumbs, the men sit sipping white wine or espresso as they look out over the palazzo and exchange information. But women have been raped by police when they reported robberies, while football stars exchange e-mails offering to fix games for large amounts. Leon doesn't have to invent crimes. Italy provides them daily.

Characters are always at the forefront and we stroll across the island city with Brunetti and a variety of police officers, from the Sicilian girl to the local police launch driver, interviewing doctors, widows, grieving mothers and sullen shop-owners. We enjoy the golden light of sunset on the campo and feel the first chill of autumn. The constant talking to one elderly person after another and fishing for official documents on computer about the events of the sixties and seventies do get tiring in this tale. However to understand the past is to understand the present of this case. And interwoven is the current case of the factory which burned down after a hotel chain expressed interest in acquiring the property.

THE GOLDEN EGG is in the style of Leon's recent works; no action, no operatic tragedy, just a mean and self-serving misdeed. As with many crime authors, I would like to see this one turn her talents to another character, another city, and refresh her talent. But when Venice sells so many books for her, why would she? Read this one for a gentle and rich appreciation of the culture of this city. If you have not read any of the series, I recommend starting with the much earlier 'Friends in High Places'. You'll be addicted.

Learn more about The Golden Egg

SUMMARY

In The Golden Egg, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Brunetti’s ambitious boss, Patta, asks him to look into a seemingly insignificant violation of public vending laws by a shopkeeper, who happens to be the future daughter- in-law of the Mayor. Brunetti, who has no interest in helping Patta enrich his political connections, has little choice but to ask around to see if the bribery could cause a scandal.


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