Sunday, April 9, 2017
Earthly Remains - Donna Leon
Commissario Guido Brunetti needs a vacation. In order to stop one of his policemen from making a serious mistake, Brunetti fakes a heart attack. The doctors, however, tell him he needs to take a break from the constant stress of his job. A relative of Paola's has a villa on one of the islands, so Brunetti goes there, alone, for two weeks.
His plan is to read and swim and ride bicycle and isolate himself from the world. He discovers that the man who maintains the villa, Davide Casati, was a friend of his late father's. They had rowed together. Casati asks Brunetti if he'd like to row. They spend their days rowing in the lagoon and visiting Casati's beeshives. Casati says his bees are dying. He says that he killed them and that he killed his wife, who died of cancer. Brunetti doesn't understand why he says that. Casati disappears after a storm and his daughter asks Brunetti to find him.
I read my first Donna Leon / Brunetti mystery in 1999, so I'm a long-time fan. Several of her recent books have dealt with the gradual destruction of Venice and the lagoon from climate change, pollution, and the dumping of toxic waste. I still enjoy the books and I appreciate Leon's emphasis on environmental and ethical issues. But I miss Paola, with her constant reading and cooking, who appears only briefly in these later books. These books introduced me to prosecco, so, thank you, Donna Leon!