Monday, May 06, 2013

The Golden Egg

Leon, Donna. The Golden Egg. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013.

Call No.: F LEO

Publisher's Description: Over the years, the best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has conquered the hearts of mystery lovers all over the world. Brunetti is both a perceptive investigator and a principled family man, and through him, Leon has explored Venice in all its aspects: its history, beauty, food, and social life, but also its crime and corruption.

In The Golden Egg, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Vice Questore Patta asks Brunetti to look into a minor violation committed by the mayor’s future daughter-in-law. Brunetti has no interest in helping his boss amass political favors, but he has little choice but to comply. Then Brunetti’s wife, Paola, comes to him with a request of her own. The mentally handicapped man who worked at their dry cleaners has just died of a sleeping pill overdose, and Paola loathes the idea that he lived and died without anyone noticing him, or helping him.

To please his wife, Brunetti investigates the death, and is surprised to find nothing on the man: no birth certificate, no passport, no driver’s license, no credit cards. As far as the Italian government is concerned, he never existed. And yet, there is the body. As secrets unravel, Brunetti suspects an aristocratic family might be somehow connected to the death. But why would anyone want this sweet, simple-minded man dead?

Librarian's Review: [Note: One of our librarians was privileged to receive an advance e-galley of this book to review. These were her comments.] Brunetti is put on an insignificant case regarding vending laws, but his wife Paola has a request for Brunetti. She learned that a deaf handicapped boy who had worked at the dry cleaners has died from an overdose of sleeping pills. She thinks it strange that no one has taken notice. Brunetti begins looking into the boy's past and discovers that there is no record of his having ever been born and that there are none of the usual records to even show he exists. When his mother is questioned, she claims the papers were stolen in a burglary. Brunetti systematically works through his discoveries until he understands how the boy and his mother were able to survive with what appeared to be no source of income. I found this an interesting read, but it wasn't totally absorbing, and I wouldn't really classify it as a mystery in the traditional sense of the word. I prefer Brunetti when he's investigating a murder and traveling around the canals of Venice. I received an electronic galley of this book for review purposes from NetGalley.