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Blood from a stone
Donna Leon
Adult Fiction LEON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this stunning novel, the 14th to feature the dogged, intuitive Venetian police detective Guido Brunetti (after 2004's Doctored Evidence), Leon combines an engrossing, complex plot with an indictment of the corruption endemic to Italian society. The murder of an anonymous African street vendor, an inoffensive, possibly illegal Senegalese immigrant, explodes into a many-layered conundrum. Italian attitudes toward "Senegali" range from the bargain shoppers' approval of their harmless efforts to earn money selling knock-off accessories to legitimate merchants' outrage at competition from the cheaper goods. After Brunetti discovers uncut diamonds hidden in the victim's spartan room and evidence the room was searched, the Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministries take over the case and all of Brunetti's pertinent files, papers and computer disappear. Enraged, Brunetti sidesteps normal police procedures and taps into personal and professional sources, uncovering evidence linking the victim, the Angolan civil war, the Italian secret service and an industrial giant with government connections. Many of Leon's favorite characters appear, including the gourmand Brunetti's family, the obsequious Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta and Patta's irreverent secretary, Signorina Elletra. They balance this dark, cynical tale of widespread secrecy, violence and corruption. Agent, Susanne Bauknecht, Diogenes Verlag (Switzerland). (May 26) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

When an illegal alien (or vu cumpra) from Africa, who's selling fake designer handbags, is killed execution-style in a crowded Venice market, the case creates personal crises for Leon's endearing police Commissario Guido Brunetti (Doctored Evidence) as well as international ramifications. For Brunetti, the firestorm starts when his daughter, Chiara, horrifies her mother, Paola, by saying it was "only a vu cumpra," leading to family discussions of race and class. Then warning flags appear for the commissario: his superior warns him to drop the case, Brunetti finds uncut diamonds among the victim's belongings, and the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs show undue interest. Brunetti persists, of course, following threads and calling upon the expertise of friends and relatives, to the point of possibly endangering persons close to him at home and at work. Despite the dispiriting and all-too-plausible ending, the evocative Venetian setting and the warmth and humanity of the Brunetti family add considerable pleasure to this nuanced, intelligent mystery; another winner from the Venice-based Leon. Highly recommended for all mystery collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 1/05.]-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Guido Brunetti
Paola's husband; investigating the murder of an illegal immigrant who was selling fake fashion accessories.
Police commissioner

Paola Brunetti
Guido's wife; professor of English literature.

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