Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon

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Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The eleventh book in the Guido Brunetti series doesn't disappoint. The case of a murdered student finds the Commissario looking back to wartime collaboration - an unpopular subject in Venice.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368/9h Date: March 2002
Publisher: Arrow
ISBN: 978-0099536628

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Claudia Leonardo was one of Paolo Brunetti's students and she sent her to see her husband as she was interested in investigating the possibility of a pardon for a crime committed by her grandfather many years ago. It wasn't an area of the law with which Brunetti was familiar, but he was intrigued by the girl's intelligence and her moral conscience. He thought little more of the visit until the girl was found stabbed to death and he was the investigating officer. It was difficult, if not impossible to find any living relatives for Claudia, but she seemed to have a close friendship with an elderly Austrian woman. Brunetti is overwhelmed by the extraordinary art collection which the woman keeps in her apartment, despite not seeming to have a great deal of money.

When she in turn is found dead Brunetti's investigations unlock secrets about collaboration during the second world war - a subject which few in Venice are happy to discuss - even within Brunetti's own extended family. The book's a gentle exploration of honour and as with all Donna Leon's books there are some delightful asides on the subject. Brunetti's friend Marco complains to the commissario about having to pay bribes to the city's planning office to enable him to get the permits to make structural alterations to his shop - the shop which sells 'original Venetian handicrafts', which are actually produced in third world countries.

As ever Leon brings Venice to life and it's not just the city which the tourists see. She seems to delight in bringing into public view the inconsistencies in the judicial system, the fact that corruption is rampant and bribery is simply another expense which must be faced. On the upside though are the meals which Paola Brunetti serves - she regularly makes my mouth water.

I wasn't entirely convinced by the ending - but that might well have been because I wanted it to work out differently. Whilst the story and the ending didn't disappoint I didn't find this to be one of the strongest books in the series.

Rather than reading the book I listened to an audio download (which I bought myself) narrated by Steven Crossley. I liked his range of voices and admired the fact that he never allowed one voice to bleed into another. I was never in any doubt about which character was speaking and I'd happily listen to more from Crossley.

The books do benefit to some extent from being read in chronological order and you'll find the full list here.

Buy Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon at Amazon.com.


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