Unto Us a Son Is Given

Grove Atlantic. (Guido Brunetti, Bk. 28). Mar. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9780802129116. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802146823. M
OrangeReviewStarEach year brings the delight of a new Commissario Guido Brunetti novel, and this 28th book (after The Temptation of Forgiveness) featuring the ever-reflective Venetian detective does not disappoint. While the title suggests a Christmas motif, the theme could hardly be further from holiday festivity. Rather, Leon explores matters of human vanity and frailty. Brunetti's powerful father-in-law, Count Falier, requests that Brunetti intervene in the affairs of Gonzalo, an old family friend, in order to prevent irrevocable folly. The elderly and openly gay Gonzalo has set about adopting the attractive, much younger Pucetti, so that Pucetti can inherit his wealth. It is clear to the Count that Gonzalo has been duped into loving Pucetti, who fails to reciprocate. As always, the skillful Leon weaves deft plot threads culminating in the inevitable exposure of Pucetti as a callous gold digger. Along the way, murder and perfidy abound, providing Brunetti with numerous investigative challenges. Ultimately, Brunetti muses about the profound nature of family ties and the danger of family secrets, inviting readers to do likewise.
VERDICT Ideal for aficionados of Louise Penny's Kingdom of the Blind. [See Prepub Alert, 10/1/18.]
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