Oh, Good Morning! Hurry in, please, and get out of that pouring rain! Let me take your coat…there’s hot tea brewing, a rooibos blend of jamsine and tropical flavors, and that should warm you up nicely.
I rather like rainy Sunday’s, when the weather gives you permission to linger indoors and savor the morning’s reading. With rain coming down in sheets and palm fronds doing a tropical salsa dance in the breeze, it seems the perfect morning for a good mystery.
Tell me, have you met Commisario Guido Brunetti? I’ve only just made his acquaintance, (Uniform Justice, Donna Leon) and already I’m quite impressed. He’s investigating a very unsettling case, the apparent suicide of a young man in a Venetian military academy. I say “apparent,” because -of course- the Commisario has an inkling there could be foul play behind this tragedy.
Brunetti is a fascinating character- extremely intelligent, literate, and deeply introspective, he wears a cloak of goodness around him that stands in stark contrast to the corrupt machinations of the Venetian government. Because he has a son the same age as the victim, this case probes every tender spot in his psyche, leaving him forlorn and filled with doubt.
“It had been more than ten hours since they had been called to the school, hours during which death and misery had soaked into him like liquid into blotting paper. Not for the first time in his career he found himself wondering how much longer he could continue to do this work.”
But it’s Brunetti’s family that shores him up, fortifying his body and spirit. Bolstered by the sympathetic ear and keen advice of his wife Paolo, their kitchen conversations are interludes of comfort amidst the stark realities Brunetti faces in the city outside him.
As he opened the door to his apartment he was greeted by aromas from the kitchen: something roasting, perhaps pork: and garlic so pervasive it suggested that an entire field of garlic had been seized and tossed into the oven alongside the pork. He knew it was familiar, as a melody is familiar even when the person cannot remember the piece from which it comes. He breathed deeply, hoping that the garlic would drive the memory out. If it could drive away vampires, than surely it could work against something as banal as misery. He stood propped against the jamb, his eyes close, inhaling the scents, until a voice behind him said, ‘That is not the proud stance of a defender of justice and the rights of the oppressed.’ Paolo appeared beside him, kissed his cheek without really looking at him, and slipped past him into the kitchen.
There are at least eleven other books in Leon’s Commissario Brunetti Series, and although I broke one of my personal bookish rules by reading this particular one (which falls somewhere late in the list), I’m not one bit sorry. After this stellar introduction, I’m eager to go back to the beginning and acquaint myself with this interesting gentleman from the inception of his career.
Oh, I think there’s a glimpse of sun peeking through those heaps of charcoal clouds. Perhaps a quick walk between the raindrops is in order…
Now tell me, what do you like best about rainy Sunday’s?