Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Earthly Remains

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Earthly Remains (2017) Donna Leon

The 26th Brunetti mystery sees nothing of Brunetti’s children, and very little of Paola. Although there is of course food.

It seems like the corruption in Venice has finally gotten to Brunetti. In order to save Pucetti from himself, Guido pretends to fall ill, and then is unable to stop the chain of events that puts him into the hospital.

‘I can’t stand it any longer, doing what I do,’ Brunetti surprised himself by saying. ‘I had to fake all this and end up here in the hospital, with doctors prodding and poking at me, just because I have to protect the people I work with from reacting to the work they do.’

So Brunetti takes his doctors advice–and the advice and prodding of Paola–and gets out of the city for awhile. He ends up spending his days on the laguna, with the man who keeps the house where Brunetti is staying, and the physicality of it is good for his spirit and soul.

Seeing the perfect balance of his motion, back and forth, back and forth, hands effortlessly in control of the oar, Brunetti thought that no man his own age or younger would be able to row like this because he would spoil it by showing off. The drops from the blade hit the water almost invisibly before the oar dipped in and moved towards the back. His father had rowed like this.

If you’re looking for the mystery to start from the get-go, this is not the book for you. This book is for long-time fans of Brunetti who wonder how he hasn’t broken prior to this, and don’t mind spending days on the laguna.

When Brunetti remarked on the generosity of the fishermen they met, Casati said fishermen were always generous, far more so than farmers. To Brunetti’s question, he explained that fishermen knew their catch would last no more than a day, so it was easy for them to give it away: give it away or watch it rot. Farmers, however, could store what they reaped and so had a tendency to keep it or even hoard it.

Because of that, it’s almost a shock when the death does come, even though you know someone is going to be murdered, because this is a murder mystery.

It’s always the odd, unpredictable things that set us off, Brunetti thought. Grief lies inside us like a land mine: heavy footsteps will pass by it safely, while others, even those as light as air, will cause it to explode.

As I said, this book is more about Brunetti than about the murder that eventually comes, so I wouldn’t recommend it to a first time reader searching for a police procedural, but it really is a good story. It also reminded me a great deal of Through a Glass, Darkly and Death in a Strange Country, with the look at pollution and corruption.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Atlantic Monthly Press

Categories: 8/10, Mystery, Police     Comments (0)    

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