Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else, showing readers what tourists never see. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories.
On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced by the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass factor owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti. Brunetti's curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? By all accounts he is constantly angry, bullying suppliers and fuming against environmentalists. Then one morning the body of De Cal's bookish night watchman is found in front of the blazing furnace. Could the old man have killed him?
Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, in quiet bars, and down crowded narrow streets, as the weather heats up and the flowers come into bloom, Brunetti searches for the killer. The dead man's annotated copy of Dante's Inferno, found at the scene of the crime, may contain the clues Brunetti needs to solve the murder as well as uncover who is ruining the waters of Venice's lagoon. Will he unravel the poetic clues before the night watchman's death is allowed to be forgotten?
A fascinating novel that combines politics and culture, set in the intersection between tourism and native Venetian society, Through a Glass, Darkly is Donna Leon at her finest.