Monday, March 17, 2008

Through a glass, darkly

Bit disappointed with Donna Leon's latest offering 'Through a glass, darkly'. Not only the rather unimaginative title, but it's also much of a muchness with the other books - though perhaps that's the nature of crime novels, where readers expect the same thing again and again?

It's set in the glass blowing industry in Murano, near Venice, and the text is sprinkled with Italian words relating to this - while you can guess many of them, it would be nice to have a glossary somewhere. There are many dark goings-on, also in nearby Marghera (where the pollution is said to be much worse than in Murano). Rumour is that Leon had written another novel first, dealing with pollution/corruption (in Marghera?) but had got rather carried away with anti-pollution/corruption rhetoric....

Otherwise it is the usual mix of lovingly described family meals (the children are increasingly becoming age-less, the Commissario's mother has now totally succumbed to Alzheimer's), debates with his boss - a vain buffoon who knows which side his bread is buttered on, and the extraordinary amount of time and freedom apparently available to Italian commissarios, who seem to be able to go to places and have coffees or glasses of wine quite as the fancy takes them.

Like many Donna Leon books you don't get the satisfaction of seeing the baddie being led to the cells, handcuffed - there's always a moment of frustration at the end of her books.....

Oh well. But on TV they are very nice. Now back to Alex Ross' 'The Rest is Noise' and let's see if I can crack that!