The Golden Egg by Donna Leon
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Contemporary
Mystery Series
Set in Italy

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Set in Venice
(Veneto)
© 2013
UK Edition

US Edition

Donna Leon

The Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery Series

The Golden Egg


Donna Leon comments about her upcoming #22

"It deals with the death, either by accidental overdose or suicide, of a deaf and mentally handicapped man. Brunetti is puzzled that a person with these qualities might have committed suicide and, because he has seen him in the neighborhood over the years, allows himself to have a look at his life to see if he can better understand what happened.

This in turn takes him back to the boy's mother and the circumstances of his birth, but nothing Brunetti finds argues against the idea of accident or suicide.

And that's what it's about. It also spends some time having a look at the society that allowed this boy/man to grow up the way he did."
(© Donna Leon, June 2012)


Product Description: When making routine enquiries into a possible bribery case that could embarrass the mayor - a humiliation Vice-Questore Patta is very keen to avoid - Commissario Brunetti receives a call from his wife, Paola, who is evidently very upset. The middle-aged deaf mute with the mental age of a child who helped out at the Brunetti's dry cleaners has been found dead - an 'accidental' overdose of his mother's sleeping pills - and for some reason Paola is distraught by the news. To the neighbourhood he was just the 'boy' who helped out, but nobody knew much about him - not even his name. That a soul could have lived such a joyless life is too much for Paola to bear, and she asks Guido if he can find out what happened.

It is a surprise to Brunetti just how little was known about this man-child - there are no official records to show he even existed. The man's mother is angry and contradictory when questioned about his death, and Brunetti senses that there much more to the story than she is willing to tell. With the help of Inspector Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra, perhaps Brunetti can get to the truth and find some measure of solace.
 (© William Heinemann)


Product Description: In The Golden Egg, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Brunetti’s ambitious boss, Patta, asks him to look into a seemingly insignificant violation of public vending laws by a shopkeeper, who happens to be the future daughter-in-law of the Mayor. Brunetti, who has no interest in helping Patta enrich his political connections, has little choice but to ask around to see if the bribery could cause a scandal.

Then, Brunetti’s wife Paola comes to him with an unusual request of her own. The deaf, mentally disabled man who worked at their dry-cleaners has died of a sleeping-pill overdose, and Paola’s kind heart can’t take the idea that he lived and died without anyone noticing him, or helping him.

To please her, Brunetti begins to ask questions. He is surprised when he finds that the man left no official record: no birth certificate, no passport, no driver’s license, no credit cards. The man owns nothing, is registered nowhere. As far as the Italian government is concerned, the man never existed. It is even more surprising because, with his physical and mental handicaps, both he and his mother were entitled to financial support from the state. And yet, despite no official record of the man's life, there is his body.

Stranger still, the dead man’s mother is reluctant to speak to the police and claims that her son’s identification papers were stolen in a burglary. As clues stack up, Brunetti suspects that the Lembos, a family of aristocratic copper magnates, might be somehow connected to the death. But could anyone really want this sweet, simple-minded man dead?
 (© Atlantic Monthly Press)


Donna Leon Book List
Death at La Fenice | Death in a Strange Country | The Anonymous Venetian
A Venetian Reckoning | Acqua Alta | The Death of Faith | A Noble Radiance
Fatal Remedies | Friends in High Places | A Sea of Troubles
Wilful Behaviour | Uniform Justice | Doctored Evidence | Blood From A Stone
Through a Glass Darkly | 
Suffer the Little Children | The Girl of His Dreams | About Face
A Question of Belief | Drawing Conclusions | Beastly Things | The Golden Egg
By Its Cover | Falling in Love |  | The Waters of Eternal Youth

Interviews & Articles
MHz Networks Interview with Donna Leon
April 2013 Interview on BBC's Meet the Author
Exclusive Donna Leon Interview
Donna Leon 2003 Interview - La Maga Abbandonata CD
2009 Interview by The Gypsy's Guide Blog
La Serenissima (December 2005)
An American in Venice (Washington Post)
Amazon.de Interview
Meet The Author 2005
March 2005 Interview
New Zealand Herald Interview
Conversation about Acqua Alta (Penguin)
German Interview Translated into English
Swiss EducETH Interview (July-2004)
A Patron of the Arts of Opera and Murder
Barnes & Noble Interview
BBC Radio 4
CBS Sunday Morning
At Lunch With Donna Leon