Thursday, April 4, 2013
Review of Blood from a Stone by Donna Leon (William Heinemann, 2005)
Blood from a Stone is a curious kind of police procedural, as much about feints and duplicity as detection. It is told in an understated way and drifts along without any urgency. The plot is relatively thin -- Brunetti starts to investigate a murder but is then warned off, regardless he keeps surreptitiously picking away at it despite seemingly going nowhere -- but that hardly seems the point. The tale is more about Venice, Italian food, Brunetti’s family life, the petty office politics of the police, and a social commentary on how immigrants are imagined and treated and the West interferes in African politics. Leon does a nice job of creating a sense of place, time and social context, and letting the reader float along with the narrative as if on a gondola. An entertaining, mild-mannered story.