Neither Commissario Brunetti nor his wife Paola have ever had much sympathy for the Italian armed forces, so when a young cadet is found hanged, at Venice's elite military academy, Brunetti's emotions are complex: pity and sorrow at the death of a boy close in age to his own son, and contempt and irritation for the arrogance and high-handedness of the boy's teachers and fellow students.
The young man is the son of an ex-politician, a man of an impeccable integrity all too rare in Italian politics. But as Brunetti - and the indispensable Signorina Elettra - investigate further, no one seems willing to talk, as the military protects its own and civilians keep their own counsel. Is this the natural reluctance of Italians to involve themselves with the authorities, or is Brunetti facing a conspiracy of silence?
There is the joy of contemplating Venice: the veiled and ancient heroine, with a sad haunted beauty slipping away year by year. Read it is the dusk, with a grappa
Brunetti ... long ago joined the ranks of the classic fictional detectives
Complex and thought-provoking and lingers in the mind
Wonderfully familiar characters, a powerful sense of place and expert plotting