Second story in the series. Brunetti and his wife are nice people; Venice seems such a charming city to see in his company. However, during this second story we are carried most of the time outside Venice, to a military base in Vicenza. The US Army enters the scene. Also, we have a closer look at Guido's father-in-law, and not a pretty one by the end of the book. All in all this one story is about social ranks and geopolitics zoomed into Venice. Social ranks: we are made aware of the aristocrats, this set represented by the count, Guido's father-in-law; the VIPs, which are the rich/corrupt/business people and their lackeys; the middle-class, Guido, wife and family and everyone else. The author seems to be very intent on making clear all humanity belong to one or the other classes. The end is really pessimistic, contrary to how the first installment ended. So, in a broader sense, nations like Germany and -of course- the USA have to play the bad guy role; the poor countries of the world are mentioned as the dumping grounds of the developed nations; Italy? Italy is a poor sucker who has to dance when the big guys tell her to.
A very, very, simplistic view of politics and society, from what we can gather by this reading. Donna Leon states it clearly early in the book: Guido is a Socialist; his wife is a communist. Oh, well. I wished I hadn't known it. But once the author has put it out so bluntly, and in so uncalled for a manner, I haven't the courage to continue reading her stories. I can forsee all the opinions that can come out of this never-the-less "simpatico" couple.
Chiao Guido. You don't deserve to be a Socialist, but have it your own way.