Monday, June 08, 2009

ABOUT FACE by Donna Leon (2009)

Donna Leon's most recent Inspector Brunetti mystery aptly plays on the double entendre of the title which not only hints at the fact of cosmetic surgery of one of the main characters, but also at the change of attitude that follows discovering the truth about assumptions.

The woman at the centre of this mystery is Franca Marinello, La Superliftata, a long time friend to Contessa Falier, Brunetti's rich and powerful mother-in-law. She seems a cliche with her much older husband and a face disfigured by excessive plastic surgery. However, there is, of course, more to Marinello than meets the eye. She reads classics, including Ovid, and Brunetti finds himself unusually drawn to her.

With a subplot involving Marinello's husband and illegal dumping, Leon begins a treatise on environmental responsibility--a religion for Brunetti's adolescent daughter Chiara.

Smart, engaging and utterly human, ABOUT FACE is worth your time.

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