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'Leon ... has once again, apparently effortlessly, produced a wholly absorbing read.' Sunday Telegraph
A Book Sense Notable Book
It is a luminous spring day in Venice, as Commissario Brunetti and Inspettore Vianello come to the rescue of Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, who has been arrested while protesting against chemical pollution of the Venetian lagoon, only to be faced by the fury of Marco's father-in-law, owner of a glass factory on the island of Murano.
But clearly there is another victim who has uncovered the guilty secret of the polluting glass foundries of the island of Murano, and whose body is found dead in front of the furnaces which burn at 1400 degrees, night and day. The victim has left clues in a copy of Dante and Brunetti must descend into an inferno to discover who is burning the land and fouling the waters of the lagoon. A man is dead - but will politics and expedience prevent the killer from striking again?
Last seen in Blood from a Stone (2005), Commissario Guido Brunetti investigates a murder on Murano, the famed island of glassmakers, in Leon's assured 15th mystery starring the cynical yet diligent Venetian policeman. Has a worker, found singed to death in front of a blazing furnace, been killed because of his environmental activism? Or is this a family feud between the factory's owner and his "green" engineer of a son-in-law? As usual, Leon educates the reader about the charms and corruptions of Italian life (the sensuality of the architecture and food, the indolence and stagnation of its bureaucracies), besides presenting a crash course in 21st-century glass-making. Every character, every line of dialogue, every descriptive passage rings true in a whodunit that's also travel essay, political commentary and existential monologue. And the middle-aged, happily married Brunetti remains unique an everyman who's also extraordinary: "During his early years as a policeman... people still argued about whether it was right or wrong to use force during an interrogation.... Now they argued about how much pain they could inflict."