Death at La Fenice Review

Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, Leon. Yes. I was reasonably sure I was going to like this when I reached this part, fairly early:

It seemed, in this moment, that he had spent his entire life … telling someone that someone they loved was dead or, worse, had been killed. His brother, Sergio, was an X-ray technician and had to wear a small metallic card pinned to his lapel that would turn a strange color if it was exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation. Had he worn a similar device, sensitive to grief or pain or death, it would have changed color permanently long ago.

It was something of a mixed bag, with delightful passages interspersed with sentences that pulled me out of the story to puzzle out what was wrong—or at least distracting—about them. It was also somewhat the opposite of hard-boiled, with passages such as this one:

… shock of silver hair swept back from his angular face. There was the faint Slavic tilt to the eyes, which appeared curiously light under the dark brows that overshadowed them. The nose was entirely too long for the face, but the effect of those eyes was so strong that the slight defect hardly seemed worth notice. The mouth was broad, the lips full and fleshy, a strangely sensual contrast with the austerity of the eyes.

Overwhelmingly positive, on balance, though I think Leon will probably be on my “reliable standby” list with Pratchett, rather than the “must read” list with Tana French.