The Golden Egg by Donna Leon
|The Golden Egg by Donna Leon|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An exquisite piece of writing from Donna Leon, as Brunetti investigates the death of a deaf mute from his own neighbourhood.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: William Heinemann|
|External links: Author's website|
Commissario Brunetti was involved in a very important case when his wife rang. He was making routing enquiries into a possible bribery case which could embarrass the mayor, something which Vice Questore Patta was very keen should be avoided at all cost. But Paola Brunetti was obviously deeply upset and her husband considered that this should take precedence. The middle-aged deaf mute man who worked at the Brunetti's dry cleaners had died, of an accidental overdose of his mother's sleeping pills. To the neighbourhood he was 'the boy' who helped out, but nobody knew much about him, not even his name and Paola was distraught that anyone could have lived such a joyless life. She wanted Brunetti to find out what had happened.
But the more Brunetti looked, the more the man seemed to slip away from him. There were no official records relating to him. His mother maintained that all his personal papers had been 'stolen', although she hadn't reported the theft to the police. He wasn't actually employed at the dry cleaner's - he was simply allowed to help out as he seemed to be happy doing it. He had no medical records. He seemed not to exist at all. What began as a sop to his wife turned into a crusade for Brunetti as he made his mind up to find out what had happened, with the help of Inspector Vianello and Signorina Elettra.
One of the great skills of the best essayists is that they can take a mundane subject and work it into a piece which enchants. Donna Leon has done something similar here: she's taken a non-case, developed it into an intriguing mystery without an obvious solution and then given us one which is deeply satisfying and left me cheering. I was very sorry when I got to the end - I could have read a great deal more on the subject.
Although, I have to admit that rather than reading the book, I listened to an audio download (which I bought myself), narrated by David Rintoul and I really don't think that he could have been bettered for this book. His Italian pronunciation is mellifluous and unforced and he brings each of the characters to life effortlessly. I look forward to hearing more from him.
Most of the Brunetti books will read as standalones, although you do get more from them if you read them in chronological order. There's no riveting continuous storyline which you'll be desperate to follow, but it does give a good feeling of continuity.
You could get a free audio download of The Golden Egg by Donna Leon with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Golden Egg by Donna Leon at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Golden Egg by Donna Leon at Amazon.com.
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