After the raging disappointment that was Through a Glass Darkly (the last Brunetti mystery I read), I’m tempted to give this book a higher rating than it deserves based just on how much better it was. So I’ll settle for three stars, which in my mind translates to “pretty good, I guess.”
The truth is I’m getting a little bored with Commissario Brunetti. So many little things are starting to grate at me: the way he lovingly describes every article of clothing and jewelry his smokin’ colleague Signorina Elettra wears to the office every damn day, his constant mind-bitching whenever he’s so busy he can’t take an hour to eat a fabulous home-cooked lunch (honestly, he has to eat lunch in a restaurant once and will not shut up about how he has to lower himself to sandwiches). And of course Leon’s there’s half-assed attempts to connect the crimes in every book to some classical work of art. This time it’s the Seven Deadly Sins, and I won’t even bother to explain the connection because it barely works and is kind of stupid.
Now we’re really getting into the nitpicking, but this part just drove me crazy so I’m going to quote it. So Brunetti is thinking about Signorina Elettra and how it annoys him that she wasn’t in the office once when he needed her. The following passage is recorded exactly as it appears in the book, with nothing omitted:
“That in turn provoked a flash of shame at the moment’s rage he’d felt at her absence. Like Otello, he had a lieutenant who could corrupt his best feelings.
As though forewarned that today she was to play Desdemona, Signorina Elettra wore a loose dress of gossamer white linen, her hair hanging loose down her back.”
But…Leon, you just said she was Cassio, not Desdemona. Or I am reading something wrong? Either way, it’s lazy narration and it annoyed me a lot more than it should have.
Verdict: three out of five stars