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FATAL REMEDIES

By Donna Leon

Penguin, 2007 ($7.99)
ISBN-10: 0143112422
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-311242-6

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Commissario Brunetti is used to being called out at all hours of the night, but when the phone rings early one morning he gets the shock of his life. Someone has committed an act of vandalism at a tourist agency, and that someone is a member of his own family.

The ugly subject of sex tourism for men seeking underage partners is at the heart of the vandalism case. Certainly it is a terrible thing, but justice must come through the legal system. If the legal system fails, is it ever right to use unlawful means to expose those who are involved? Brunetti is torn between doing his duty and protecting his loved one, and it is a wrenching experience for him.

He is also under pressure to solve a bank robbery. The suspect has ties to the Mafia, so the police must tread carefully. There is one eye witness who is not afraid to testify, and Brunetti has to make sure that he does.

Brunetti learns about another disturbing case, in which counterfeit or worthless drugs are being foisted on those helpless to protest, all in the name of profit: "fatal remedies" indeed. Brunetti’s Venice is both beautiful and disturbing, and his love for his city is equally conflicted. He is one man trying to be honest in a corrupt system, trying to protect his family while making enemies because of his convictions, and yet he appears to be content with his life, or at least resigned to it.

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