The Waters of Eternal Youth

Commissario Guido Brunetti (By Its Cover) is back, but this time in a case that may not actually be a case. As The Waters of Eternal Youth opens, Brunetti agrees to do an informal investigation on behalf of the elderly Contessa Lando-Continui, an old friend of his wife's family. Fifteen years earlier, the Contessa's teenaged granddaughter, Manuela, fell into a canal and was pulled out brain damaged, left with the mental acuity of a seven-year-old. The Contessa wants to know how Manuela came to be in the canal in the first place.

As Brunetti begins looking into Manuela's life at the time of the incident, with the help of fellow commissario Claudia Griffoni, he finds some surprising connections and learns heartbreaking details about the Lando-Continui family. Long conversations with his passionate wife, Paola, help him to deal with the difficult truths he and Griffoni uncover, especially when one of those secrets leads to someone's death.

Donna Leon's mysteries are never fast-paced, but rather quiet paeans to the city of Venice. Filled with musings on immigration, tourism, the rising pollution in the bay and canals, and the crippling corruption of the Italian government (which Griffoni and Brunetti encounter at nearly every turn as they attempt to investigate), The Waters of Eternal Youth reflects Venice's ability to endure, in spite of centuries of threats. Readers who enjoy Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series or Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs books are sure to enjoy spending an afternoon in Venice with Brunetti. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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