“Waters of Eternal Youth”

by

Creating a successful series takes a good concept and interesting characters.  Donna Leon certainly has done that.  “Water of Eternal Youth” is her twenty-fifth novel in her Commissario Guido Brunetti series.  9780802124807_p0_v2_s192x300.jpgBrunetti and his family live and work in Venice.  He has been a police officer for many years, and he has had to deal with a variety of crimes in the city he loves.  Each of the books in the series obviously deals with a murder, but what Leon has been able to do is deal with murder but also comment on problems facing Italian society.

Having the series set in Venice, of course, adds to the color and glamour of the plots.  This setting is especially important to “The Waters of Eternal Youth” because the crime Brunetti is investigating deals with an “accident” in which a young girl is found in one of the canals after having fallen or been pushed.

Brunetti’s wife if a member of one of the oldest and most aristocratic families of Venice.  A friend of the family, equally famous and rich, asks Brunetti to investigate an incident that happened more than fifteen years before involving her granddaughter.  As a favor to the family, Brunetti and his team investigate and find leads that will eventually lead to an unexpected result.  Signorina Elettra, the computer wizard, and Commissario Claudia Griffoni play important roles in helping Brunetti with his investigation.

As in all her books in this series, Leon, an American who has lived in Venice for more than thirty years, comments, through her characters, on a social issue.  In “Waters of Eternal Youth” the problem of affordable housing for young people in Venice is discussed.  As in other great cities in the world, wealthy developers have cornered the real estate market leaving it almost impossible for those with limited means to live in the city of their birth.

With this twenty-fifth novel, Leon has produced one of the best in the series.  Brunetti shines as a very moral man who cares about his family, his colleagues, and his city.

 

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