Recently I’ve been indulging in some extensive comfort reading; returning to authors from whom I know exactly what to expect, and re-reading old favourites. One novelist that fits right into this category is Donna Leon.
I find it faintly worrying that a murder mystery series seems comforting; particularly since some of her books have pretty bleak outcomes, where real life wins out over justice. But I can’t help it. It’s the descriptions of Brunetti, Paola, and their believable children. I love their strong relationship. (Please don’t tell me if anything bad happens to this in the more recent books. I haven’t got that far yet, and I don’t want to know.) And then – dammit – it’s the food they’re always eating. I’ve discovered that there’s a spin-off cookery book – A Taste of Venice: At Table with Brunetti. I am so asking for that for Christmas.
And of course they get to have grappa at lunchtime, seemingly without any ill effects. I don’t personally like grappa all that much, but it’s the principle of the thing. Their power to overindulge without any consequences – together with Paola’s ability to cook elaborate meals at lunch and supper whilst holding down her lecturer’s job – are the only bits of the novels that might not stand up to scrutiny. But heck, I don’t care.
This blog post was going to end there, but I find I can’t physically press the ‘publish’ button without mentioning Signorina Elettra. In theory, she’s just the assistant to the Vice-Questore, but in practise she’s the power behind the whole Questura, running the joint. She is my heroine.
Bring on the comfort reading…
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