“A brilliant writer . . . an immensely likable police detective who takes every murder to heart.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
Late one night, Guido Brunetti is called away from dinner to investigate the death of a widow in her modest apartment. Though there are some signs of a struggle, the medical examiner rules that she died of a heart attack. It seems there is nothing for Brunetti to investigate.
But he can’t shake the feeling that something or someone may have triggered her heart attack, that perhaps the woman was threatened. Conversations with the woman’s son, her upstairs neighbor, and the nun in charge of the old age home where she volunteered do little to satisfy Brunetti’s nagging curiosity. And with the help of Inspector Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra, he intends to get to the truth.
“One of her best . . . She has become a must-read for all those who favor character-driven crime stories.” —Booklist, starred review
“[A] wickedly entertaining series.” —Publishers Weekly
Leon's fine 20th Commisario Guido Brunetti mystery (after 2010's A Question of Belief) explores violence against women and the treatment of the elderly. The Venetian medical examiner has ruled that Costanza Altavilla, a widow in her 60s, died of a heart attack, but Brunetti has his doubts. The discovery of several changes of clothes in various sizes in the deceased's modest apartment and Brunetti's talks with the insightful Signorina Elettra reveal that Altavilla was running a safe house for women escaping domestic violence. Could one of the abusive men have confronted Altavilla and scared her to death? Brunetti's investigation takes him to an old-age home, where Altavilla volunteered, in search of answers. Leon provides a vivid view of Venice, balancing the city's "glory days" with the reality of "the flaking dandruff of sun-blasted paint peeling from shutters." Compassionate yet incorruptible, Brunetti knows that true justice doesn't always end in an arrest or a trial.