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About Face: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery    by Donna Leon order for
About Face
by Donna Leon
Order:  USA  Can
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Here is another entertaining mystery from the author of seventeen previous Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries. Readers return again to Venice, Italy, where - when the action begins - Brunetti and his wife attend an informal dinner party at the home of Brunetti's father-in-law. At the dinner party, Brunetti is particularly fascinated by the unusually attractive Franca Marinello and her husband Maurizio Cataldo.

After dinner, though, life for Brunetti suddenly becomes much more demanding than exchanging small talk over a dinner table. A police investigator from nearby Lombardo visits Brunetti in Venice and seeks his help in a murder investigation. It seems as though the murder victim had become involved in certain illegal activities. The power behind the activities, however, may have had organized crime connections.

On the other hand, as Brunetti and his visitor from Lombardo soon discover, the murder victim's life as an entrepreneur, tax evader, and police informant may have also had connections in Venice. Moreover, digging into the murder victim's past is a bit like digging through old garbage, and that can rather quickly get more than a little unsavory. And then when Brunetti realizes that his dinner party encounter, his father in law's business ventures, and the murder investigation may be curiously connected, life for the sagacious commissario becomes very complicated.

Overflowing with atmosphere drawn from Venetian settings, heavily dependent on characterization and a leisurely paced plot, and nicely supplemented with literary allusions (including especially Cicero but also including Henry James, Jane Austin, and Virgil), About Face is another winner from Donna Leon.

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