The New York Times bestseller: “Venice shines through the pages of this novel. . . . Coupled with unexpected twists and turns [it] doesn’t disappoint” (Tulsa Book Review).
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller • A Library Journal Mystery Bestseller • A Booklist Best Crime Novel of the Year • A Crime Reads Most Anticipated Book of the Year
Guido Brunetti is urged by his father-in-law to investigate—and preferably intervene in—the seemingly innocent plan of the elderly Gonzalo Rodríguez de Tejeda to adopt a much younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would then be heir to Gonzalo’s entire fortune, a prospect Gonzalo’s friends find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why the old man, a close family friend, can’t be allowed his pleasure in peace.
And yet, what seems innocent on the Venetian surface can cause tsunamis below. Gonzalo unexpectedly drops dead on the street, and one of his friends—who just arrived in Venice for the memorial service—is strangled in her hotel room. Now with an urgent case to solve, Brunetti reluctantly untangles the long-hidden mystery in Gonzalo’s life that has ultimately led to murder . . . a resolution that brings him more pain than satisfaction.
“Like Louise Penny, Leon has cultivated an utterly devoted audience, ever anxious to get to know more about her characters.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Redolent, as always, with the sights, smells, sounds, and mealtimes of the water-immersed city. . . . In Leon’s latest, a pleasantly deceptive lull . . . is dissolved with deadly force.” ―The Seattle Review of Books
Italy's inheritance laws figure prominently in bestseller Leon's sobering 28th Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery (after 2018's The Temptation of Forgiveness). The Venetian policeman is asked by his father-in-law, Count Orazio Falier, to check out Attilio Circetti, Marchese di Torrebardo. The count's best friend, Gonzalo Rodr guez de Tejeda, proposes to adopt Circetti and make him the heir of Gonzalo's considerable estate. As little is known about the prospective adoptee, and Gonzalo's wealthy siblings are alarmed by their aged relative's intention, the count suspects that his friend may be subject to other forces besides affection. Though Brunetti's respect for both the charming Gonzalo and his wise father-in-law places him in an awkward position, he agrees to investigate. When Gonzalo dies, followed swiftly by the murder of one of his oldest friends, it seems clear to Brunetti that Gonzalo's plans have set a nefarious plot in motion. Leon provides a sad reflection on the devastating impact of selfish desires on innumerable lives.