Commissario Guido Brunetti, of the Venetian Questura, pursues a pair of very different cases to equally inconclusive ends.
At the gravesite following the funeral of his mother, Guido Brunetti meets Padre Antonin Scallon, a schoolfriend of Brunetti’s brother who has been doing missionary work in Africa. Brunetti has never liked Scallon, so he’s surprised when the priest asks his help in getting information about Brother Leonardo Mutti, leader of the Children of Jesus Christ. Agreeing to investigate Mutti, Brunetti (Suffer the Little Children, 2007, etc.) ends up spending considerably more time investigating Scallon himself before he’s abruptly pulled away from his inquiries by an ugly discovery. A Romany girl is found drowned in the Grand Canal with two pieces of readily identifiable jewelry that didn’t belong to her. Because of a lack of cooperation, the mystery of the girl’s death looks even more impenetrable than Brunetti’s investigation of the two rival preachers. The investigations are linked only by the establishment’s hatred and fear of interlopers who threaten its control.
By no means a model of plot construction, but as heartfelt and moving as Brunetti’s best.