cover image Death in High Water: A Guido Brunetti Mystery

Death in High Water: A Guido Brunetti Mystery

Donna Leon. HarperCollins Publishers, $22.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018651-7

Intelligent and charming Guido Brunetti, the commissioner of police in Venice (seen before in Death at La Fenice and Death in a Strange Country), continues to confront corruption in his fifth adventure. His moral anger pervades and gives substance to this mystery, from its peripheral incidents to the resolution, in which the villain explains all and which occurs in the rising waters of the title. Investigating an assault on American archeologist Brett Lynch, Brunetti wonders whether the two men who beat her are simply homophobic (Lynch's lover is a popular soprano) or, as Lynch suggests, whether they were trying to prevent her planned meeting with museum director Francesco Semenzato. Five years earlier, Lynch and Semenzato brought a touring display of Chinese antiquities to Venice. Recently, Lynch, on a dig in China, saw the same pieces and realized some had been replaced by fakes. Brunetti's sources suggest that Semenzato's interests in antiques are more diverse than is proper for a powerful museum director, but there's no opportunity for a confrontation: only four days after the beating, Semenzato is murdered. As Brunetti wends his way around the insider's Venice and through accumulating information (not all obtained entirely honestly), he also deals with his superiors, his wife and teenage daughter, all the while remaining the thoughtful, sensitive sleuth readers have come to expect. (Oct.)