Blood from a Stone by Donna Leon

Murder During Christmas Time

When an African street vendor and also illegal immigrant is murdered during the busy Christmas shopping in Venice, the case ends up on Guide Brunetti’s table. He is upset by how these vu cumprà (which apparently is a very degrading term) is treated by society. There is something fishy with the case and Brunetti is ordered to stop the investigation. Of course he does not follow orders when the stench of corruption is apparent. Instead he continues the investigation in secret.

Anti-racism

The novel has a clear anti-racism theme, a serious subject, which the author gets lost in at the expense of the story. She criticizes the Italian society in large and the judicial system in particular. The story around the crime is unfortunately rather boring. Usually I like the feeling in Leon’s novels, but this time she has not succeeded. Of course it could be due to the fact that it is difficult to get the right feeling when you read a “Christmas novel” in fabulous summer weather, but I still think it is just a poorly written novel.

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