In yesterday's Telegraph, journalist Tim Heald reported on a trip around Venice with crime novelist Donna Leon, who writes the bestselling novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. The 18th mystery in the series, About Face, was published last month.
Heald writes that at the center of each book is a crime, but the novels are not whodunits in the traditional sense. “Who is just a noun,” Leon says, “why is a verb. Who someone leaves his wife for is dull, but why he leaves his wife is interesting.” As for the modern craze for detailed forensics and descriptions of cadavers, she shrugs disdainfully. “Who wants to describe that gunk?” she asks.
Her books are as much about place as crime, and a new companion book has just been published that takes readers on a tour of Leon's beloved city. In Brunetti's Venice: Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective, tourists and armchair travelers follow in the footsteps of Brunetti as he traverses the city he knows and loves. With his acute eye for change in his native city, his fascination with the past, his ear for language and his passion for food and drink, and his familiarity with the dark realities of crime and corruption, Brunetti is the perfect companion for any walk across La Serenissima. Over a dozen walks, encompassing all six regions of Venice as well as the lagoon, lead readers down calli, over canali, and through campi. Important locations from the novels are highlighted and major themes and characters are explored, all accompanied by poignant excerpts from the novels.
[MBN note: We have reviewed two of the books in the Commissario Brunetti series, Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon and Through a Glass Darkly by Donna Leon, rating them both among the best mysteries published that year.]
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