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Son profund (1997)
de Donna Leon
No hi ha cap discussió a Converses sobre aquesta obra.
La existencia del comisario Brunetti se ve alterada por la irrupción en su vida de ciertos elementos religiosos inquietantes. Durante un almuerzo familiar descubre que las clases de religión que recibe su hija, la adolescente Chiara, son impartidas por un sacerdote que da signos de un comportamiento poco menos que inadecuado. Al mismo tiempo, una monja que Brunetti conoce llega a la questura de Venecia para exponer sus sospechas sobre las circunstancias de la muerte de unos ancianos en una residencia.
It all starts with a nun - or an ex-nun to be more precise. She is one of the nuns who had taken care of Brunetti's mother for awhile so when she comes with a tale of possible murder and elderly abuse, Brunetti decides to investigate, even if all he has is a woman's word. It is a quiet book - while there is death (and murder in some cases), it is an exploration of the state of elderly care and the lives of the nuns who deal with that more than anything else. Brunetti comes out a bit more morally ambiguous than usual although it feels more like Leon being more comfortable using his sense of justice (vs the law) than before. It also makes the story feel more personal on some level - stories about idealized policemen never really work properly.
A woman came to speak with Commissario Guido Brunetti. She looked somewhat familiar, but he could not place her until learned that she had been a sister working at the nursing home where his mother had resided. Both his mother and he were very fond of her. She told him she had left the order three weeks ago and was troubled by some of the events she had witnessed and heard about while she was there.
It turned out there was much to be troubled about. Not only was the care deficient in some areas, people were dying in questionable circumstances.
Investigating her suspicions led Brunetti on an investigation not only about the care but about financial arrangements between some residents and the facility and the motivation of some of the people running it.
Luckily for Brunetti, Vice-Questore Giuseppi Patta had been out-of-the country for a couple of weeks so Guido was able to get started on the investigation without interference from his boss.
During the investigation, Brunetti became the target of an attack that jeopardized his life.
Issues with nursing home care and the motives of people running them as well as the education in Catholic schools and the way sisters are treated, is universal as are other situations addressed in QUIETLY IN THEIR SLEEP.
Like the other books in Donna Leon’s Brunetti series, the story is well-told. Interesting characters and situations. It keeps the reader engrossed in the plot which moves along smoothly.
“[O}bjects survive us and go on living. It’s stupid to believe we own them. And it’s sinful for them to be so important.”
‘Hypocrites never think that other people can be just as false as they are.”
“There’s always something to discover about the people you think you know well.’
“But people are really afraid of Opus Dei. The way they were afraid of the SS, the Gestapo.”
Least favorite of the series so far, I thought the ending was abrupt, the mystery was over shadowed by the messages about the Catholic Church and religion in general. I still enjoy the series and will continue.
The Brunettis vs. the Church
Review of the Grove Press paperback edition (June 2015) of the original MacMillan hardcover (1997)
This 6th Commissario Brunetti investigation is a cat-and-mouse game where the Venice police inspector goes up against the secretive forces and bureaucracy of the Catholic Church and its secret society, the Opus Dei. The case starts when an ex-nun, who once was part of the order which cared for Brunetti's mother in a nursing home, comes to Brunetti with a list of what, to her, are suspicious nursing home deaths. Brunetti makes initial enquiries with relatives and members of the order and nothing seems untoward. But then the nun is severely injured in a hit and run incident and Brunetti senses there is more at play.
See photograph at https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYmVlM2ZmNmMtYzllZC00NTI4LTg5MzQtZjgzOTE4...
Actors Suzanne von Borsody as Mother Oberin and Uwe Kockisch as Commissario Brunetti in a film still from the German television adaptation of "Quietly in Their Sleep" (2004) titled "Sanft entschlafen" (To Fall Asleep Gently). Image sourced from IMDb.
Meanwhile, on the home front, daughter Chiara's report card reveals a rebellious streak against religious instruction and Brunetti's wife Paola is called to action when it becomes apparent that the school's religion teacher is a priest with a shady past of possible child abuse. The two investigations lead up to a couple of my favorite passages in the book:
'I said I'm going to stop him, and that's what I'm going to do,' Paola repeated, enunciating every syllable, as if for the deaf.
Brunetti had always tried to avoid naming the person he suspected of a crime, and he tried to do so this time, but she could read the answer in his silence.
I've been trying to follow the series in order of its publication, but I've realized that it is actually mostly frozen in time, with Brunetti's children hardly aging, although the books have now spanned almost 30 years. Quietly in Their Sleep does hint that there may be future conflicts with Opus Dei in the later books, as not all of the villains are satisfactorily brought to justice. The lack of complete closure though is somewhat a characteristic of Leon's writing as if in parallel to the real world.
Trivia and Links
There is a really fascinating interview with author Donna Leon at ItalianMysteries.Com even if it was done 18 years ago. She discusses all sorts of background to the books and characters and also gives the reason that she won't allow the books to be translated into Italian (and it wasn't because she feared criticism by her neighbours in Venice).
Although it was the 6th book, Quietly in Their Sleep (aka The Death of Faith in the UK) was filmed as the 7th episode "Sanft entschlafen" (To Fall Asleep Gently) (2004) of the German language TV series (2000-2019) based on the Donna Leon / Commissario Brunetti books.
An English language summary of the German language Commissario Brunetti TV series is available at Fictional Cities (Spoilers Obviously, although often the films differ from the books). As explained in the above interview, the TV-series was a German production as the books took off in popularity the most in the German speaking countries of Europe as Leon's publishing agent was Swiss-German and knew that market the best.
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Commissario Guido Brunetti is kicking his heels, pondering the recent lack of crime in Venice, when a beautiful young woman appears at his office door. Now calling herself Maria Testa, his visitor is more familiar to Brunetti as Suor' Immacolata, the nun who once cared for his mother at the Casa di Cura in Dolo. But Maria has recently left her convent after the unexpected deaths of five patients. Brunetti offers to make some inquiries but finds no obvious cause for concern. Is Maria simply creating fears to justify abandoning her vocation? Or has she stumbled onto a deeply rooted, far more sinister scenario--and put her own life in grave danger?
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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