In Leonís novels Venice provides not only the background for Commissario Guido Brunettís cases, but also a metaphor for the society that she depicts with graceful economy. Both are immensely stylish, but their ravishing surfaces hide insidious corruption. The series started off with Death at La Fenice, which also introduced the opera singer Flavia Patrelli and her lover, Brett Lynch, who also features in Acqua Alto Murder is usually only the most obvious of the crimes Brunetti investigates: Acqua Alta revealed some of the iniquities of the international art trade; The Death of Faith, sexual and financial corruption within the Roman Catholic Church; A Noble Radiance, the lethal sales of nuclear material from the former Eastern bloc. The greed and cruelty of the criminals is counterpointed in each novel by the decency of Brunetti, a man for whom justice is a passion, and the domestic delights he enjoys with his academic wife , Paola, and their children.
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