‘Because then you’d eat tramezzini every day, and never go home for lunch,’ Vianello said and ordered a plate of artichoke hearts and bottoms, some fried olives, shrimp, and calamari, explaining, ‘It’s for all of us.’ He also asked for an artichoke and ham tramezzino and a shrimp and tomato; Penzo chose bresaola and ruccola, Speck and Gorgonzola, and Speck and mushroom; Brunetti practiced moderation and asked for bresaola and artichoke and Speck and mushrooms.
The last book in the series (About Face) started off with Guido and Paola inching their way along an icy street, on their way to a dinner party, and talking about Paola’s other husband, Henry James. (In this one, Paola makes a comment about him, and Guido has to leave the room because he cannot think of what to say in response.) In this one, Venice is in the grip of a heat wave, and everything that happens (except the murder) is colored by that.
I’ve read the last two or three of these mysteries as audiobooks, and the recordings, narrated by David Baldacci (the accents, the pauses, the passing references to place names) are very well done. There is a little less of Brunetti’s family in this one, and a little less of Paola’s cooking (the Brunettis go to the mountains, but Guido is called back, and it’s too hot to cook), but that lets us see more of Guido and his assistant, Inspector Vianello. One of their investigations, under the table, involves Vianello’s aunt, who begins to act strangely and visits the home of a well-known and highly suspect healer, while the other involves the brutal murder of a civil servant who may be involved with corruption in the courts. There’s another death, and we see Brunetti calming himself with a pizza and an evening spent reading Tacitus, and taking a stand when the odious Vice-Questore dismisses that death as unimportant, again. The mystery unfolds slowly, but steadily, and I didn’t mind that at all.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Believing that they would be away for two weeks, Paola had cleared out the refrigerator. He opened it, found some onions in the bottom drawer. Two containers of plain yogurt. A piece of vacuum-packed parmigiano. He opened a cabinet and found a small jar of pesto, a six-pack of canned tomatoes, and a jar of black olives.
He called Paola’s telefonino number. She answered by saying, ‘Fry the onions, then add the tomatoes and olives. They don’t have any pits. Make sure you put the parmigiano in a new plastic bag, one of the zip-lock ones.’
‘I miss you desperately, too,’ Brunetti said.
‘Don’t get smart with me, Guido Brunetti, or I’ll tell you it’s 14 degrees and I’m wearing a sweater in the house.’ He started to defend himself, but she added, ‘And there’s a fire in the stove.’
‘I know a lot of lawyers who handle divorce work, you know.’
‘And we went for a walk this afternoon; three hours, full sun, and the Ortler is still covered with snow.’