When a son is given to us | Family secrets ★★★

Commissioner Brunetti, Donna Leon’s favorite character, doesn’t like being reminded that her stepfather is one of the richest men in Venice. He has always managed to keep a healthy distance between his work as a police officer and his wealthy and influential in-laws.

Until the day when the count asks him to investigate Gonzalo, one of his good friends who is about to bequeath all his fortune to a young man he wishes to adopt. Donna Leon often insists in her novels that Venice is a city of secrets and rumors. This Brunetti investigation confirms this once again, as the commissioner discovers a complex life about Gonzalo that even his closest friends were unaware of.

In this novel, we enter the life of the very rich Venetians and we discover what is not always glorious in their opulent palazzo. It’s not Brunetti’s most thrilling investigation, but these days we’re taking anything that can help us escape for a few hours. And then, we do not read Donna Leon for the complexity of his investigations, but to travel a bit in the streets of Venice, to enter Brunetti’s favorite cafes where he sips an espresso or a glass of wine with his colleagues. We read Donna Leon for the spiritual lines of Paola, Brunetti’s wife, and for her meals, each more appetizing than the next. In short, reading a novel by Donna Leon means rediscovering an atmosphere, characters and places that you love. And it works every time.


When a son is given to us, Donna Leon, Translated from the English by Gabriella Zimmermann, Calmann-Lévy, 324 pages.


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