There’s a fine line between helping an acquaintance as a friend or as a police professional - a major dilemma for Commissario Guido Brunetti in Give Unto Others. Should he be using police resources to aid a casual friend who has concern for her daughter’s safety? Of course, Brunetti, with his quiet demeanor, becomes involved with a quest for answers. In doing so, he faces his biggest challenge: how does he question someone who has dementia. Leon even mentions another challenge - the “pandemia,” reminding us of the universality of this epidemic. In her 31st novel, Leon once again gives equal importance to the Venetian setting as she does to her memorable characters. You have to wait patiently for the action; it will appear along with acts of vandalism, betrayal, trust, and corruption.
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Brunetti is forced to confront the price of loyalty, to his past and in his work, as a seemingly innocent request leads him into troubling waters
What role can or should loyalty play in the life of a police inspector? It's a question Commissario Guido Brunetti must face and ultimately answer in Give unto Others, Donna Leon's splendid thirty-first installment of her acclaimed Venetian crime series.
Brunetti is approached for a favor by Elisabetta Foscarini, a woman he knows casually, but her mother was good to Brunetti's mother, so he feels obliged to at least look into the matter privately, and not as official police business. Foscarini's son-in-law, Enrico Fenzo, has alarmed his wife (her daughter) by confessing their family might be in danger because of something he's involved with. Since Fenzo is an accountant, Brunetti logically suspects the cause of danger is related to the finances of a client. Yet his clients seem benign: an optician, a restaurateur, a charity established by his father-in-law. However, when his friend's daughter's place of work is vandalized, Brunetti asks his own favors--that his colleagues Claudia Griffoni, Lorenzo Vianello, and Signorina Elettra Zorzi assist his private investigation, which soon enough turns official as they uncover the dark and Janus-faced nature of a venerable Italian institution.
Exploring the wobbly line between the criminal and non-criminal, revealing previously untold elements of Brunetti's past, Give unto Others shows that the price of reciprocity can be steep.
About the Author
Donna Leon, born in New Jersey in 1942, has worked as a travel guide in Rome and as a copywriter in London. She taught literature in universities in Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia. Commissario Brunetti made her books world-famous. Donna Leon lived in Italy for many years, and although she now lives in Switzerland, she often visits Venice.