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In the twenty-seventh novel in Donna Leon’s bestselling crime series, a suspicious accident leads Commissario Guido Brunetti to uncover a longstanding scam with disturbing unintended consequences.

Important information is leaking from inside the Venetian Questura, and Commissario Guido Brunetti is tasked with uncovering the culprit. But before Brunetti can begin his investigation, a friend of his wife’s comes asking for his help, fearful that her son is using drugs.

A few weeks later, the woman’s husband is found unconscious at the foot of a bridge.

Following various contradictory leads, Brunetti navigates his way through Venice's underworld in an attempt to understand who is responsible for the vicious attack. But as he gets closer to discovering what happened, Brunetti is faced with a difficult truth: sometimes, it’s the best intentions that lead to the darkest of consequences . . .


The Venetian settings are en­chanting and Commissario Guido Brunetti’s investigative methods are drolly amusing. But it’s the living, bleeding humanity of the characters that makes Donna Leon’s police procedurals so engaging … Tagging along after this sleuth is a wonderful way to see Venice like a native, especially since Leon takes care to give us precise directions for his routes.

New York Times Book Review

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    October 1, 2018


    320 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    April 5, 2018

    Cornerstone Digital

    320 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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    • Kobo Ebook
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    • eBooks



Having left the apartment smack on time so as to arrive at the Questura on time for a meeting with his superior, Brunetti found himself seated towards the rear of a Number One vaporetto, glancing idly through a copy of that morning’s Gazzettino. Subconsciously aware that they had just left la Salute, starting to cross to Vallaresso, he heard the boat’s motor slip into reverse. A Venetian system of batlike echolocation told him they were still some distance from the left bank of the canal, so the sound of the boat reversing was out of place: perhaps the Captain was trying to avoid something in the water ahead of them.

Brunetti lowered the paper, looked up, and saw nothing. Or, more accurately, he saw no farther than a sober grey wall he recognized instantly as an approaching bank of fog. It was hard to believe his eyes, so clear had the sky been when he’d left his home twenty minutes before. While he had been reading about the latest failure of the MOSE floodgates to function – after more than thirty years of plans and peculation – someone appeared to have draped a thick grey cloth in front of the vaporetto.

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