When Anna Maria Giusti returns from holiday to find her elderly neighbour Constanza Altavilla dead, with blood on the floor near her head, she immediately alerts the police. Commissario Brunetti is called to the scene and it seems the woman has suffered a fatal heart attack. Patta, the Vice-Questore, is eager to dismiss the case as a death from natural causes, but Brunetti believes that there is more to it.
It soon transpires that there are some faint bruises around her neck and shoulders, indicating she may have been shaken. Could this have caused a heart attack? Was someone threatening her?
Meanwhile, Brunetti meets Signora Altavilla's son, Niccolini, who tells him that since her retirement she had been helping out at a nearby nursing home. Brunetti visits the home with Ispettore Vianello to try and find any information that might be connected to the case. While they speak to those she spent the most time with, it appears that there is some hostility between the residents, which raises Brunetti's suspicions. Once again, he enlists the help of Signorina Elettra, who discovers that Signora Altavilla was involved with an organisation that helped women at risk, providing them with a safe house. Could this have something to do with her death?
As the investigation takes an unexpected twist in events, Brunetti needs to find out the truth before it gets buried within a community that seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into deception and lies.
©2011 Donna Leon (P)2011 Random House Audiobooks
"[Leon's] portrait of Venice and modern Italy is, as always, captivating...The lively conversations between...characters, displaying Leon's sly humour, are a delight. Her novels are really studies in human nature, both good and bad, and as a result are far more interesting than mere tales of shooty-shooty bang bang." Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard (7.4.11)
'Andrew Sachs could read me anything - that mellifluous voice compels you to listen! Not hard with crime novelist Donna Leon's DRAWING CONCLUSIONS. The setting is Italy and Leon's Commissario Brunetti is again the star as he investigates the death of Constanza Altavilla. Plenty of satisfactory twists and turns, and with more about the secrets we all hide, the small infringements of law we are all guilty of, than guns and blood and bodies, it makes perfect summer listening.' Kati Nicholl, Daily Express
"More elegant, understated crime fighting from the mistress of La Serinissima...A welcome return to the comfortable characters and locations that her fans have come to love." The Independent
"With characteristic skill, Leon draws together multiple threads and a well-rounded cast, while her restrained prose gives equal weight to the protagonist's nebulous suspicions...So subtly does Leon's narrative develop that we are unaware of having formed impressions, until, as imperceptibly as she pointed us in one direction, she spins us round to face another. With the steady, unsentimental style that has become her signature, Donna Leon keeps us hesitating until the last corner is turned." TLS
This is an astonishingly intricate work of fiction. The plot is complex but not complicated; the characters are very believable and are sensitively drawn; the Venetian landscape bubbles beautifully under the story without ever trying to take centre stage. I also found our policeman's day-to-day life every bit as enthralling as the mystery he is trying to unravel. Donna Leon draws the reader/listener into the life of this ordinary Italian policeman and allows you a glimpse into a home life that you feel could very well be that of millions of other Italians. Andrew Sachs is superb. His narrative voice is compelling and his effortless, subtle transition between the various voices can fool you into thinking you are listening to a whole cast of different characters.
I don't often give audiobooks a second listen, but I will be happy to hear this one again before too long. Excellent. The best in my library so far.
"A Book Club Read"
Easy listening whilst walking my pup in the park. Enjoyed listening a second time to fill the gaps and will definitely listen again and recommend to my family. Andrew Sachs was a brilliant narrator.
I have already recommended it to my book club and would definitely recommend to friends but not to all of them. It is a good read but some what sanitised.
OMG he is so easy to listen to. Would definitely listen to him read again. Awesome!
Lets meet at 10 to interview the suspect.
A detective who is married and balances work and family life. He listens, thinks, shares and listens again before he reacts. Love him.
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