Something different for Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti, whose first case (Death at La Fenice, 1992) so expertly resurrected the closed-circle whodunit. This time, the murder of Sgt. Michael Foster, public health inspector at the American military hospital at Vicenza, produces such a pronounced lack of reaction--Brunetti's officious boss Patti insists it be written off as a mugging; somebody plants cocaine in Foster's quarters in the hope of heading off further questions; even Foster's lover and commanding officer insists she has no idea why he's been killed--that the fix is clearly in with either the American military or the Italian police. Patti pulls Brunetti off the case to work a burglary from a Grand Canal palazzo, but that--and more sinister high-level skullduggery--are predictably tied in too. No whodunit, but a measured, thoughtful conspiracy investigation that goes a long way toward extending Leon's range. This is definitely an author to watch.