Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Unto Us a Son Is Given

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Unto Us a Son Is Given (2019) Donna Leon

Brunetti’s father-in-law is worried about a friend, and asks Guido to see if his concerns are justified.

‘Gonzalo’s my best friend. We were at boarding school together.’ He looked across at Brunetti and said, unable to restrain his surprise, ‘My God, it was more than sixty years ago.’

The issue is that inheritance in laws in Italy.

‘As you know, the law decides where most of his estate will go, regardless of his wishes.’ Before Brunetti could summon to mind the relevant law, il Conte went on. ‘It stays in the family, goes to his siblings, no matter how he might feel about them, no matter what sort of Philistines they might be.’ So neutral was il Conte’s tone that he might as well have been reading the recipe for plum cake. Then, in the same calm tone, he remarked, ‘I suspect it’s a law made for the convenience of the rich.’

The problem is that it’s more confusing than just the inheritance laws.

Brunetti thought about how taking a look at one’s unconscious motives and prejudices was like walking barefoot in cloudy water: you never knew whether you were going to step on something disgusting or bang your toe into a rock.

I’ll be honest, it took me a bit to really understand they whys of the murder that happens. We get a lot of excerpts from letters and emails, but they never really made sense to me in the context of why they make Brunetti so unhappy.

The murder itself made sense, after the inheritance laws were repeated several times, but I didn’t see the motive Brunetti did in the exchanges.

But still, I do love Brunetti.

Brunetti started to get up, and his copy of The Trojan Women fell from the sofa to the floor. He bent and picked it up, saying, ‘I finished it.’ Then, almost sulking, ‘Now I don’t have anything to read.’

Paola smiled up at him. ‘You’ve got three long shelves in my study, Guido. Surely there’s something to read there.’

He nodded. ‘I know. It’s really that I don’t know what I want to read.’

This was a so-so Brunetti mystery. It checked off all the boxes: Vianello, Elettra, Paola, food, Italian politics and law. But it didn’t have the same pull other books in the series did.

I enjoyed it, but not as much as previous stories.
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

Rating: 7/10

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