A wall of silence surrounds a cadet’s death at an elite military academy: “Superb . . . This is an outstanding book.” —Publishers Weekly
Detective Commissario Guido Brunetti has been called to investigate a parent’s worst nightmare. A young cadet has been found hanged, a presumed suicide, in Venice’s elite military academy.
Brunetti’s sorrow for the boy, so close in age to his own son, is rivaled only by his contempt for a community that is more concerned with protecting the reputation of the school, and its privileged students, than understanding this tragedy. The young man is the son of a doctor and former politician—a man of impeccable integrity, all too rare in politics. Dr. Moro is clearly devastated; but while both he and his apparently estranged wife seem convinced that the boy’s death could not have been suicide, neither appears eager to talk to the police or involve Brunetti in any investigation of the circumstances in which he died.
As Brunetti pursues his inquiry, he is faced with a wall of silence. Is the military protecting its own? And what of the other witnesses? Is this the natural reluctance of Italians to involve themselves with the authorities, or is Brunetti facing a conspiracy far greater than this one death?
“Brunetti is a compelling character, a good man trying to stay on the honest path in a devious and twisted world.” —The Baltimore Sun
In this superb novel, Leon's latest in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series (A Noble Radiance, etc.), the Venetian police detective and family man is summoned to the exclusive San Martino Military Academy, where Cadet Ernesto Moro has been found dead, hanging in the lavatory. The other cadets and the academy brass give a chilly reception to any "civilians" who trespass into their midst, including the Venetian police. Believing Cadet Moro was the victim of homicide rather than suicide, Brunetti traces a sinister trail that leads to the dead boy's father, a doctor-turned-politician who once revealed then ducked the ramifications of a military procurement scandal. This is not the Venice of Thomas Mann or Henry James the palazzos, gondoliers and Doges' monuments are all but overlooked. Leon's city is winter-cold and gray, with corruption rather than gilt glinting through the fog, and a culture in the grip of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy that runs on secrets and bribes. Humane and intelligent, a good man working in an impossible system, Brunetti displays an acerbic, economical wisdom. The plot flows along like the Adriatic tide through a narrow canal swift, none-too-clean and inevitable. This is an outstanding book, deserving of the widest audience possible, a chance for American readers to again experience a master practitioner's art.