Monday, 14 May 2007

Death at La Fenice - Donna Leon

I've always loved a good detective story, right from when the Famous Five or Nancy Drew were my investigators of choice, through Agatha Christie, Elizabeths George and Peters, Val McDermid, and Ruth Rendell, so the discovery of a new series is always exciting. I'd been meaning to sample some of Donna Leon's oeuvre for a while, but as the perfectionist I am, wanted to start at the very beginning (where else is there to start?!) and being lazy too, if it wasn't in Waterstones on the day I happened to think of it, I wasn't going to find it. Anyway, when I spotted it on the shelf as part of a 3-for-2 last week, I was rather pleased.

Being something of an Italianophile, the Venetian setting was lovely, and finding little chunks of Italian customs or intriguing bits of vocab liberally scattered though the pages was very interesting. I scampered through it at breakneck speed, and enjoyed the plot, but with mixed feelings. You see, I worked out not only who did it but why, and though there was an extra mini-twist it did only confirm my suppositions rather than turn them on their head. When reading detective fiction I always try to work it out, but seldom succeed, so when I finally did, it was a bit of a let down. Surely the author is supposed to know more/be cleverer than me?! On the other hand, this book is 15 years old (though my favourite Agatha Christies are four or five times that...) and it's the first in the series. Maybe with 'Death in a Strange Country' she will outwit me, though this will have to wait until I find it.

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