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Have you ever traveled to Venice? Given the average of 60,000 tourists that visit there daily, the chances are good someone reading this has toured the famous city. If you haven’t, the Guido Brunetti police detective series by highly acclaimed author Donna Leon is an enjoyable substitute for the real thing.
You can find the series at the Wilson County Public Library and follow Commissario Brunetti as he walks the city or travels by launch along the canals or across the Laguna. Leon’s vivid descriptions light the way among the breathtaking architecture of the churches and palaces that have stood for centuries. She brings you through the seasons so descriptively, if you ever do make the trip, you’ll know what to pack. And you can almost smell the wonderful food cooked by his wife, Paola.
Best of all, Leon has created a character in Guido Brunetti who is likeable, even lovable. He’s intelligent, much more so than his superior, Vice Questore Patta, whom Guido must often manipulate in order to do his job. Guido is capable, of course. So capable he always solves the crime even if the convoluted and sometimes corrupt system lets the criminal go unpunished. Best of all, Guido Brunetti is not perfect. He puts more sugar in his coffee than he should, he sometimes wishes he could take back his words, and he recognizes when justice may be better served by not doing something, than by doing it.
Be prepared if you read this series (27 books so far) to glimpse the dark side of not just murder, but of what happens to the living in our world today. For this reason, these books are more than an escape from daily life, though they are that certainly. Like all good fiction, they are an exploration of a place, of a time, and of the truth of what it means to be human.
Molly Westlmoreland is director at the Wilson County Public Library.