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Surprised, if not dismayed, to discover from his superior, Vice-Questore Patta, that leaks are emanating from the Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is surprised more consequentially by the appearance of a friend of his wife's, fearful that her son is using drugs and hopeful Brunetti can somehow intervene. When Tullio Gasparini, the woman's husband, is found unconscious and with a serious brain injury at the foot of a Venice bridge at midnight, Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy's behavior. But the truth, as Brunetti has experienced so often, is rarely straightforward. An examination of Gasparini's home office reveals a number of strange coupons in his elderly aunt's name from a local drugstore, which over time reveal a long-running scam. As the 27th novel unfolds in Donna Leon's exquisite chronicle of Venetian life in all its blissful and sordid aspects, Brunetti is ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness and craftiness of Signorina Elettra, Patta's secretary and gate-keeper, and reminded of the ever-lasting virtues of his own family. His intellectual pursuits lead him to read Sophocles' play Antigone, so revealing of the unintended consequences that can erupt from bad decisions--and tempt him to consider at least personal forgiveness for a crime from the heart gone bad.



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