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Uniform Justice: A Commissario Brunetti Novel    by Donna Leon order for
Uniform Justice
by Donna Leon
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Donna Leon writes an engaging police procedural set in Venice Italy. Commissario Brunetti is a remarkably sensitive policeman, who finds ways to do his job, despite the corruption above, and the turf battles around him. He's happily married to strong-minded, aristocratic Paola Falier, and they have a teen son and daughter (which makes this latest case particularly hard for the policeman to pursue).

In this episode, Brunetti is called to investigate a supposed suicide at the San Martino Military Academy attended by young men with a strong sense of entitlement. Brunetti views the Italian military as similar to the Mafia, 'dominated by men and unfriendly to women; incapable of honour or even simple honesty beyond its own ranks; dedicated to the acquisition of power; contemptuous of civil society'. The dead young man turns out to be the only son of the incorruptible Dottor Moro, who suddenly and mysteriously left politics two years before. The Commissario soon finds out that Moro's now estranged wife was shot in a 'hunting accident' around the same time. Why has the family been targeted and where is the young Moro daughter?

Brunetti investigates, taking full advantage of the contacts and computer skills of his boss Patta's assistant, Signorina Elettra, a skilled hacker. Moro has many enemies but who would be current ones, in a country where 'scandal had the same shelf life as fresh fish: by the third day, both were worthless; one because it had begun to stink, the other because it no longer did'? Though I found the ending of Uniform Justice less than satisfying, it is nevertheless realistic, and I very much enjoyed this brief sojourn with Commissario Brunetti in Venice.

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