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Publisher's Summary

On a cold Venetian night, shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares: fake handbags of every designer label. The dead man had been working as a vu cumpra, one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits. Commissario Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: why would anyone kill an illegal immigrant? Once Brunetti begins to investigate this unfamiliar Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake. Warned by Patta, his supervisor, to resist further involvement in the case, how far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture of Venice's illegal community?
©2005 Donna Leon and Diogenes Verlag AG Zurich; (P)2005 BBC Audiobooks America
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Critic Reviews

"Stunning." (Publishers Weekly)
"[A] wonderful addition to one of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever." (The Washington Post)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By connie on 12-11-09

genre surprise

At times this was the sterotypical contemporary detective story with corny novel/audiobook devices like Italian accented English (to make us believe we are following "authentic" Venetians in the storyline) and Italian phrases and cuisine thrown in to make us further feel an "exotic" setting -- BUT, overall, it was superior to most in that genre. Superior, that is, if you are looking for a mystery/ detective listen with a reasonable storyline and no graphic sex or violence, as I do. What raises this to a four star listen is 1. the excellent narration and 2. the presentation of a social justice issue (conflict diamonds), well addressed in the guise of fiction without being pedantic.

These are a novel and author I would never have downloaded had it not been for the free first chapter to capture my interest. I will download more of Leon now, especially since a couple of her well-rated listens are so well-priced.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Tom on 10-01-09

Slow but entertaining

The narrator does such a good job that it is a pleasure to listen to this book. It's well written and one gets a nice sense of Italy. It is slow, and there isn't much action, but I still liked it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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