Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Trace Elements (Commissario Brunetti #29)

Trace Elements is the 29th (!!!) Guido Brunetti mystery by Donna Leon. Released 10th March 2020 by Grove Atlantic on their Atlantic Monthly Press imprint, it's 320 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats.

For fans of the series, the author, her style, the characters, and the settings need no introduction. For readers unfamiliar with the author who are looking for a solid series (and I mean -the entire series- there's not a clunker in the lot), this could definitely be the answer. This is a gently paced book with perfectly delineated characters who are well drawn and acting true to nature. They breathe and feel and Ms. Leon manages to imbue them with 3 dimensions without ever once abusing the reader's trust. The dialogue is well rendered and believable. There is humor, pathos, humanity, and decency, if not always justice in the strictest sense. Although it's one of a series (and I heartily recommend reading them all), it works perfectly well as a standalone.

The author doesn't shy away from shining a light on the seedier side of the government infrastructure along with the 'realpolitik' involved in the interoffice shuffling of inconvenient media problems as well as juggling privacy and data protection laws to mostly stay on the right side the law while still managing to solve crimes. Commisario Brunetti and his colleagues and family are so well written that it's always a delight to catch up and 'visit' them. I like it very much that Brunetti has a healthy family life and that he's a reader himself. There are small literary asides peppered throughout the book which show his humanity and intelligence and in a way, his love and appreciation for his wife, who is a professor of literature.

Leon is a capable and gifted storyteller, writing in top form and providing pure delightful high quality entertainment. This is a warm and well written mystery procedural. Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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