What does the murder of a young American Sergeant stationed in Vicenza and the theft of priceless Impressionist paintings from the palazzo of a Milanese arms dealer have in common? Commissario Guido Brunetti isn’t quite sure, but his instincts tell him to keep pursuing these cases even as doing so goes against his superior’s orders. In the process, he uncovers a conspiracy that involves the powers that be which threatens the well-being of all residents of Italy and beyond. I quite enjoyed the second of Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti series, my only regret being that I haven’t been reading this series in it’s proper sequence, although that is by no means a requirement. I was complaining about the slow pace of Friends in High Places in my review of the last Donna Leon I read. In hindsight, to a certain degree I think I was missing the point; Brunetti enjoys all the small pleasures of life; food, wine, time spent with his family and the small details which can only be appreciated by one living in Venice. Leon’s pacing, contrary to typical thrillers, is deliberately unhurried when it needs to be, allowing us to go on journeys of discovery right along with her main protagonist—much as she has had the leisure of doing in her many years as a resident of the famous ancient city.