Gently flowing mystery

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Last updated 16:48 24/06/2013

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REVIEW: The Golden Egg

By Donna Leon

(William Heinemann, RRP $35)

Reviewed by Jillian Allison-Aitken

Author Donna Leon continues her Commissario Brunetti series, with this 22nd book to feature the Venice-based detective moving along at the same satisfying pace of its predecessor, Beastly Things.

In the middle of a routine and somewhat mundane case, Brunetti gets a call from his wife to say the disabled man who worked for their dry cleaner is dead in what is thought to be a suicide.

Of course, nothing is as it seems and nothing is ever straight forward so while an empty bottle of pills found with the man seems to give weight to the suicide theory, Brunetti's wife Paola isn't so sure.

No-one seems to know much about the man - not even his name - and no-one had ever heard him speak.

As Brunetti gives in to pressure from Paola and investigates the death, he is surprised to find that there are no official records to show he even existed and as his investigations continue, he finds a dark story full of secrets and cruelty.

This isn't a full-on, fast-paced, in-your-face thriller - Donna Leon doesn't specialise in those. Instead it is a gently flowing mystery that gives up its secrets at just the right speed.

And, refreshingly, it's not the now-standard enormous trade paperback size that will give you shoulder pain after a good night of reading. All-in-all, Commissario Brunetti's 22nd outing is a successful one.

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- The Southland Times

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