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Atlantic Monthly Press
<DIV>Donna Leon’s <I>Commissario Guido Brunetti</I> mysteries have won legions of fans for their evocative portraits of Venetian life. In her novels, food, family, art, history, and local politics play as central a role as an unsolved crime. In <I>The Girl of His Dreams</I> when a friend of Brunetti’s brother, a priest recently returned from years of missionary work, calls with a request, Brunetti suspects the man’s motives. A new, American-style Protestant sect has begun to meet in the city, and it’s possible the priest is merely apprehensive of the competition. But the preacher could also be fleecing his growing flock, so Brunetti and Paola, along with Inspector Vianello and his wife, go undercover.<br><BR>But the investigation has to be put aside when, one cold and rainy morning, a body is found floating in a canal. It is a child, a gypsy girl. Brunetti suspects she fell off a nearby roof while fleeing an apartment she had robbed. He has to inform the distrustful parents, encamped on the mainland, and soon finds himself haunted by the crime--and the girl. Thought-provoking, eye-opening, and profoundly moving, <I>The Girl of His Dreams</I> is classic Donna Leon, a spectacular, heart-wrenching addition to the series.</div>
Atlantic Monthly Press
Amazon Best of the Month, May 2008: Reading <i>The Girl of His Dreams</i> leaves you no choice but to reconsider what makes a mystery novel so good. Certainly there's no denying the appeal of a hard-boiled crime story, where more often than not a brilliant yet battered P.I. drives you white-knuckled to the edge of your seat, but Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti--at once exactingly inquisitive and disarmingly sensitive--bucks that genre convention entirely. Here, in Leon's seventeenth Brunetti mystery, is a man who investigates the tragic drowning of a young Gypsy girl relentlessly, yet--in his thoughtful meanderings through the streets and cafes of Venice--also struggles to understand the human warps and weaknesses that make his beloved city so vulnerable. In the end, it's this pure love and curiosity for life (and, I admit, his lusty appreciation of daily luxuries like prosecco, good coffee, or a burst of sunshine) that make Brunetti such a seductive hero--so much so that you're willing to follow him wherever he goes. <i>--Anne Bartholomew</i><br/>