“The Golden Egg” by Donna Leon

goldeneggDonna Leon was born in New Jersey but has lived in Venice for thirty years. She loves the city and has set her mystery series with Commissario Guido Brunetti there.

Readers have come to love the intrigue she conjures up, not only in the cases Brunetti tackles, but in the police office life, and also his family life, with a clever wife and two endearing children. In this book Brunetti himself brings Venice to life. Standing on the deck of a ferry Leon writes: “entranced, as he so often was, by the casual, unending beauty of it. Stone, sky, gold, marble, space, proportion, chaos, disorder, glory.”

The story in The Golden Egg goes far beyond Brunetti’s initial assignment and into a world of aristocratic family abuse. A mentally handicapped man in his forties has died of an overdose. When Brunetti investigates the death, he can find no birth certificate, no passport, no driver’s license, no credit cards. As far as the Italian government is concerned, he never existed. It makes for an intriguing story of discovery, what The New Yorker calls “an unusually potent cocktail of atmosphere and event.”

Review by Anne McDougall