Like all Donna Leon’s mysteries, you get at least three stories
when you read one:- there’s the mystery itself (and in this book there
are two going on), the continuing story of Commissario Guido Brunetti’s
own family, and the background, always-enchanting story of the city of
“The Girl of his Dreams” has to be one of Leon’s best. It opens
with a major event in Brunetti’s own family and continues throughout
with glimpses of his wife Paola, daughter and son and their growing-up
travails. Brunetti is then confronted with an investigation into a new
American-style Christian sect meeting in private homes in Venice.
While he is facing this, one cold rainy morning the body of a young
gypsy girl is found floating in the canal.
She has apparently fallen off the roof of a nearby apartment while
caught stealing. Noone had reported either the theft or the missing
child. Brunetti ventures out to the gypsy camp on the mainland and we
get a good picture of this unhappy, ostracized world of Romani people.
Like all of Donna Leon, this is what The New Yorker calls “an
unusually potent cocktail of atmosphere and event.” You’ll find it a
pleasure to read. Leon has written seventeen novels and won the CWA
Silver Dagger Award. She has lived in Venice for twenty-five years.
Book Review by Anne McDougall