“The Girl of His Dreams”
You know how I love a narrator with an English accent? Well, an Italian accent is even better! “The Girl of His Dreams” by Donna Leon has been my book on CD this last week and the Commissario Guido Brunetti is once again my co-pilot as I navigate the beautiful highways and byways of Utah. I wish I was navigating the fetid canals of Venice instead. This series of Italian crime novels set in Venice is buon reading and buon listening. Although it’s not necessary you may want to start with the first one “Death at La Fenice” written in1992. Ah, Venice – bella cita.
A body is found floating near the steps of one of Venice’s side canals. It’s a young gypsy girl and she has been dead for a few days. Why hasn’t anyone reported this child missing? And why hasn’t anyone reported the gold jewelry it appears she has stolen? Brunetti searches for her family and the truth as he struggles with prejudice and corruption. The reader despairs for justice as Brunetti seems unable to penetrate the cultural barriers of the gypsy refugees. He is also thwarted by his superiors who want the case closed with a verdict of accidental drowning since a powerful family is involved in the crime. It seems prejudice and politics are international barriers to crime fighting.
The cast of continuing characters includes his endearing wife Paola an English literature professor from an aristocratic Venetian family, his loyal sidekick Sergente Vianello, his vain corrupt boss Vice-questore Patta, and my favorite- the smart and very sneaky secretary Signorina Elettra. Signorina Elettra has shady connections to access any information to aid Brunetti in his fight for right and her ability to work around her boss is award winning. Despite the mafia, internal political pressures, and government corruption, the commissario continues working on the case. Brunetti must once again decide if exposing the truth is worth sacrificing his career. Buon giorno and buona lettura!