When Commissario Brunetti receives a visit from one of his wife's students with a strange and vague interest in investigating the possibility of a pardon for a crime committed by her grandfather many years ago, he thinks little of it, despite being intrigued by the girl's intelligence and moral conscience. But when the girl is found stabbed to death, Claudia Leonardo is no longer Paola's student, but instead becomes Brunetti's case.
Claudia seemed to have no discernible living family, but lived with an elderly Austrian woman. Brunetti is stunned by the extraordinary art collection the old woman keeps, and when she in turn is found dead, the case begins to unlock long buried secrets of collaboration during the war, secrets few in Italy are happy to explore...
"A classic example of detective-book murder, it is satisfyingly difficult to resolve ... Leon whips up a brilliant narrative storm"
"Compelling ... absorbingly detailed ... this is a powerful story, brilliantly evoking Venetian atmosphere, and the characters of Brunetti and his family continue to deepen throughout this series"
"Donna Leon's novels have become successively more subtle, more complex and perhaps more serious, without ever losing their compelling power as narratives. This is especially true of Wilful Behaviour; the story is wholly engrossing"