Death In A Strange Country - Donna Leon

Donna Leon

Death In A Strange Country

Donna Leon's book is about Commissario Brunetti, who lives in Venice. One day a dead body is found in the 'laguna'. It turns out, that it was Sergeant Foster, a young American from the military base in Vicenza, where he worked as a doctor. Everybody, but Brunetti, believes that it was a robberymurder. That means that a person is threatened and unfortunately killed by a thief. Twice Brunetti goes to Vicenza to interview people about Foster's life.

Brunetti reads in the newspapers that Sergeant Foster's superior officer, Dr. Peters, has committed suicide by an overdose of drugs. Our Commissario does not believe that because he knows that she (Dr. Peters) was a declared fighter against drugs. Soon he gets a letter from Dr. Peters, which tells him about a young American boy, who has got into contact with a strange substance and got ill in Vicenza. So Brunetti phones Maggiore Ambrogiani and asks him to find out the address of the boy. Of course Ambrogiani does a good job and so he and Brunetti go to the young American's house. The boy's father tells them that they had a picnic at Lake Barics and that his son broke out into a rush when they got home. He also tells that he saw some strange white trucks there. So Ambrogiani and Brunetti go to Lake Barics, wait for these strange white trucks and they really come. They lead the officers into a wood to a sort of dump. When the trucks are away the two find out that it is full of dangerous substances of NATO-countries. Now Brunetti understands. Foster and Peters found out about the dump and told their superior officers about it. So they had to get killed because nobody should know about it.

When Brunetti gets home he calls the father of his wife, who is a very mighty man. He tells him that he should clean the dump and that he himself cannot say anything about the case in public because he would get murdered, too. His wife's father follows his instructions and so another case is solved for Commissario Guido Brunetti.

Donna Leon, born in September 28, 1942 in New Jersey, where she also studied at the university. Since 1965 Donna Leon has been in foreign countries. She worked in Rome, London and taught at the American schools in Switzerland, Iran, China and Saudi Arabia.

At the moment Donna Leon teaches English literature in Vicenza, at a US military base (like in the book) near Venice, where she also lives.

In1991 Donna Leon got Japan's famous Suntory-prize for 'Death at la Fenice'.

Her most important books: Death at la Fenice (1992)

Death in a strange country (1993)

Dressed for death (1994)

Death and Judgement (1995)

The most important characters

Commissario Guido Brunetti: He is a lucky married man with two children. He enjoys eating and loves good wine. He always stays cool and does not lose his sense of humour. He has often been in America and so he speaks English very well. He does not, however, like the destruction of his home country, Italy.

Ambrogiani: He is a likeable Maggiore in Vicenza. His personality is similar to Brunetti's, but the book does not tell anything about his private life.

Dr. Peters: She is the daughter of a poor American family. She joined the US army because by doing so she only had to pay a few years of her life for a good education. At first she seems to be very sensitive. I, however, think that she is a hard-headed woman.


Italian: Buon Giorno, Commisario

            Va bene

            Bambino, bambino

Detailed local descriptions: `He went the back way, passing the Evangelic church and coming up on the Questura from the right side of the building'.

My opinion:

I did not like this book at all because it was written very detailed, and there were actions I was not interested in (for example the description of Brunetti's way home). The things he does are quite confusing and so I just could write about a few of the most important events. I think people who like crime-stories, would love this book, but I am not among them.

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