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Uniform Justice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery Paperback – June 4, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
In this superb novel, Leon's latest in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series (A Noble Radiance, etc.), the Venetian police detective and family man is summoned to the exclusive San Martino Military Academy, where Cadet Ernesto Moro has been found dead, hanging in the lavatory. The other cadets and the academy brass give a chilly reception to any "civilians" who trespass into their midst, including the Venetian police. Believing Cadet Moro was the victim of homicide rather than suicide, Brunetti traces a sinister trail that leads to the dead boy's father, a doctor-turned-politician who once revealed then ducked the ramifications of a military procurement scandal. This is not the Venice of Thomas Mann or Henry James-the palazzos, gondoliers and Doges' monuments are all but overlooked. Leon's city is winter-cold and gray, with corruption rather than gilt glinting through the fog, and a culture in the grip of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy that runs on secrets and bribes. Humane and intelligent, a good man working in an impossible system, Brunetti displays an acerbic, economical wisdom. The plot flows along like the Adriatic tide through a narrow canal-swift, none-too-clean and inevitable. This is an outstanding book, deserving of the widest audience possible, a chance for American readers to again experience a master practitioner's art.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
*Starred Review* American readers, having endured seven long years without a new Guido Brunetti novel, can now celebrate the return of Leon's world-weary Venetian commissario. Brunetti, like Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen, is beyond idealism; he swims freely in corrupt waters yet attempts to carve out a separate peace for himself in the way he does his work and lives his life. Both are challenged by his latest case, involving the apparent suicide of a cadet at a Venetian military academy. The boy's father, a reform-minded politician, knows his son didn't kill himself but refuses to talk. As Brunetti slogs through the usual mire of corruption and cover-up, he ponders "how long it would be possible to go back and forth between his professional world and his private world without introducing the contamination of the first to the second." It is that private world--Brunetti's family life--that drives this wonderfully warmhearted, tragicomic series. Brunetti's interactions with his wife say much in few words, as when he attempts to criticize her tolerant attitude by chiding, "Love before truth?" and she replies, "Love before everything, I'm afraid, Guido." Those two words, "I'm afraid," transform a potentially sentimental, even trite, exchange into a something very different: yes, love trumps justice, but living with that fact isn't all romance. It's high time this series earns the accolades in the U.S. it has been receiving in Europe for years. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
For all intents and purposes, the death of a young cadet at an exclusive Venetian military school certainly must be a suicide. However, with the intellect, cunning, skill, and savvy of Leon and Brunetti, what begins with a "simple" death soon works its way into an ugly, complicated, and frightening murder in Leon's latest "Uniform Justice."
The young teenager is the son of a prominent doctor and politician, termed "honest" by any standard. The father's honesty serves as a fault, however, and soon causes him to resign from parliament, particularly following his investigation of corruption in military procurement. The "web of deceit" in such cases seems to spread just about everywhere.
His "anti-military" stance does not go over well, especially at his son's military school. Thus begins a series of cover-ups, lies,and deception--the ranks of the involved quickly close.
Not for the first time does Brunetti face the "old school" of Venice. His task is formidable, but with the help of his wife Paola, his secretary Signorina Elettra, and a few members of the department, Brunetti methodically and brilliantly brings the case to its conclusion.
Leon, for all the love she bears for Venice, where she's lived for a number of years, continues to champion the cause of the just, the honest, the uncorrupt, the innocent, all descriptives of just about any place but Venice. Still, politics and social injustices aside, Leon continues to hold firmly her legion of fans with her inimitable style, plot designs, superb characterizations, and general "good literature." "Uniform Justice" is not easily laid aside until it is finished.
One of Leon's strong suits is that she does not pretend that, when the final pages are read, the world is then tied up nicely in a pretty bow and everything is okay. Romanticism in literature is not Donna Leon; realism is alive and well and these themes permeate her twelve Brunetti novels.
Perhaps this is another reason she is so popular.