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A Sea of Troubles

A Commissario Brunetti novel by Donna Leon

After a fisherman and his son are murdered and left on their boat, which is then set on fire and sunk, Commissario Brunetti has to go to the island of Pellestrina in the Venetian lagoon to investigate the crime.

But the Commissario and his Sergeant, Vianello, find themselves up against a brick wall in the close-knit community of Pellestrina, where the tough fishermen and their downtrodden wives stubbornly avoid cooperating with the police.

The lagoon can be treacherous in bad weather

The beautiful and stylish Signorina Elettra, the Vice-Questore’s secretary, reveals she has a cousin who lives on the island and volunteers to visit her for a few days to see what she can find out.

Despite his misgivings about her safety, Brunetti finds he can’t dissuade her and she takes some holiday from the Questura to go to the island.

Brunetti and Vianello continue to pursue their enquiries officially, returning to Pellestrina, which is south of the Lido out in the lagoon, in the police launch, piloted by the long-serving Bonsuan.

Meanwhile, Signorina Elettra enjoys her holiday, while maintaining her cover, but finds herself falling for a handsome stranger she is introduced to in a bar.

The atmosphere of Pellestrina, which is only a few kilometres from Venice, but where the inhabitants don’t even speaks the same dialect as the Venetians, is evoked well by Donna Leon. She displays her extensive knowledge of the island, which is just a short trip across the water from Venice, where she lives.

But the weather in this part of Italy in the spring can change quickly and as Brunetti is getting closer to the truth, a terrible storm descends, which puts them all at risk.

A Sea of Troubles won the Crime Writers’ Association Macallan Silver Dagger in 2000.

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