RogerBW's Blog

A Sea of Troubles, Donna Leon 28 January 2014

The tenth book in Leon's Commissario Brunetti series, as with other series entries I've been reading lately, offers more of the same: descriptions of the seamy underside of Venice interspersed with lightweight police work.

The constant background of incompetence and corruption does rather grind down the regular reader, and the lack of good honest clues and detective-story puzzle means that the book doesn't really get going until about two-thirds of the way through -- and just as the detection is getting interesting, it's cut short by an action sequence aboard boats in a storm, for much of which Brunetti isn't even present.

This time the setting is mostly Pellestrina, an island south of Venice where the main economy is fishing. As always with Leon, there's lots and lots of detail; Leon has been living in Venice for over thirty years and apparently knows her stuff, though I'm ignorant enough that I might well not spot errors anyway. A fisherman and his son are murdered, and Brunetti faces a wall of silence while trying to investigate.

Without a puzzle for the reader to solve -- the information that helps make things even slightly clear isn't given until quite late on -- all that's really left is the description. It's all very well as far as description goes, but it's more a narrated tourist guide than a story.

The slow start is an ongoing problem for this series, but I'll probably read more of them all the same.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 01:35pm on 28 January 2014

    My parents and I have been to Venice for a week and the great thing about these books is spotting where you've been. The scenic detail Leon gives holds up very well, the only part of it that annoys me is her use of US English eg. terms and names.

    For my parents the above is enough, but I have to agree about the lack of clues for the reader. Also the fact that most of the time the guilty party isn't fully brought to justice due to Italian corruption and Brunetti only gets a pyrric victory becomes annoying the more novels you read. And I'm only on number 4.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards museum music mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1