A Question of Belief; Donna Leon.
As usual, Donna Leon paints a familiar picture of my beloved Venice.
Her books set in the Veneto, present its exotic lifestyle; wonderful food; wonderful architecture, so thronged with enthusiastic tourists; their impact on Venetians Leon sympathises with.
Why is it that many writers who set their stories in Italy and Sicily use the image of ongoing corruption amongst Venetians and Sicilians of influence and power, spiced with their dishonesty and driven by their passionate need for personal advantage?
Leon uses that vehicle to explain why her policeman, Commissario Brunetti, is so very often deflected in his investigations by characters with vested interests in doing so.
His boss Patta, for example, “As so often happened when Brunetti dealt with Patta, he was forced to admire the skill with which his superior could transmute his own worst failings —in this case blind ambition and an absolute refusal to perform any action that did not benefit him directly — into the appearance of probity.”
Brunetti’s rest from that negativity comes from the food he enjoys in his favoured eateries and that his wife Paola prepares for him ready for his homecoming; also, from the joy his children’s personalities bring him.
Ironically, it is the protection of family or other loved ones that drives some characters’ behaviours; behaviours which Brunetti must investigate and confront.
©Adrian Regis 2015
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