Friends In High Places : (Brunetti 9), Paperback Book

Friends In High Places : (Brunetti 9) Paperback

Part of the Brunetti series

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat investigating the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years earlier, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant government department.

But when the bureaucrat rings Brunetti at work, clearly scared, and is then found dead after a fall from scaffolding, something is obviously going on that has implications greater than the fate of Brunetti's apartment ...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099536581

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Other reviewers have suggested that this would not be a good book to start a reader's acquaintance with Brunetti: I go along with that. The endemic corruption and bureaucratic incompetence in Italian life provide the ground-bass to all Leon's work but in this book these are the main players. Given the threat to Brunetti's home in the first chapter and his reluctance to call on his father-in-law to use his <I>influenza</I> to remove the worry, it is unsurprising that he is moodier than usual. He manages a fairly significant spat with Paola and even puts Signorina Elettra potentially in harm's way to further his investigations.The violent death of possibly the only honest bureaucrat in the Ufficio Catasto (the land registry office) is at the centre of the plot but there is a sub-plot involving drug dealing and the associated deaths of young people which strikes at Brunetti's Achilles heel, his deep concern for his children. The son of the awful Vice Questore, Patta, seems involved in dealing leaving Brunetti with a conflict between his usual disdain for his chief's self-serving attitudes and his sympathy for a very worried father. The death of a young student of architecture, apparently from a drug overdose, leads to a perfect piece of writing from Leon describing the visit of the dead man's parents to Venice to identify the body. Thrown into this mix are very unpleasant money-lenders and scarcely less unpleasant descendants of a medieval Doge, arrogantly carrying the family name and nothing else.This is one of those books where you feel you have got about half way through when you find that there are only a couple of short chapters left. Sometimes this is a reflection of the author's poor organisation or lack of imagination but Leon can't be accused of either. True, there are some loose ends but I was left with the impression that she was getting a lot of baggage off her chest concerning human failings and, having done so, she ended the story. The final pages allow Brunetti to exhibit uncharacteristic malice. I am sure he will be back to normal after some <I>fegato alla Veneziana</I>, a glass or two of Prosecco and a cuddle from Paola.As an aside, we are told that, as well as enjoying Henry James, Paola is a fan of the Aubrey / Maturin stories of Patrick O'Brian.

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