Gonzalo Rodriguez de Tejada is lonely and old. Once the darling of the art crowd, he now feels irrelevant. A young man takes his fancy, someone to care for him. Italian inheritance law requires the bulk of an estate go to the family. Gonzalo chooses to adopt the young man in order to bequeath him a fortune thus hoping to secure his affection. Commissario Brunetti’s father-in-law would appreciate having discreet inquiries to the background of the young man; he fears Gonzalo, one his oldest friends, is being foolish. Two people die suddenly, leaving to Brunetti’s sorrow proof inheritance, fortunes, and family make for treachery and betrayal. Venice with its twisting allies, aquamarine canals, and shifting mist is the perfect setting for a crime that begins in longing.— Deon Stonehouse
"Your situation is always ambiguous, isn't it, Guido?", his father-in-law, Count Orazio Falier, observes of Donna Leon's soulful detective, Guido Brunetti, at the beginning of her superb 28th Brunetti novel, Unto Us A Son Is Given. "The world we live in makes that necessary," Brunetti presciently replies. Count Falier was urging his Venetian son-in-law to investigate, and preferably intervene in, the seemingly innocent plan of the Count's best friend, the elderly Gonzalo Rodr guez de Tejada, to adopt a much younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws this man would then be heir to Gonzalo's entire fortune, a prospect Gonzalo's friends find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why the old man, a close family friend, can't be allowed his pleasure in peace. And yet, what seems innocent on the Venetian surface can cause tsunamis beneath. Gonzalo unexpectedly, and literally, drops dead on the street, and one of his friends just arrived in Venice for the memorial service, is strangled in her hotel room--having earlier sent Gonzalo an email saying "We are the only ones who know you cannot do this," referring to the adoption. Now with an urgent case to solve, Brunetti reluctantly untangles the long-hidden mystery in Gonzalo's life that ultimately led to murder--a resolution that brings him way more pain than satisfaction. Once again, Donna Leon brilliantly plumbs the twists and turns of the human condition, reuniting us with some of crime fiction's most memorable and enduring characters.
About the Author
Donna Leon is the author of the highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Donna Leon lived in Venice for many years and now divides her time between Venice and Switzerland.