My book review of 'A Refiner's Fire' by Donna Leon

by Donna Leon
A Refiner's Fire
by Donna Leon

Donna Leon has been writing for almost 30 years now and each year there's been a new novel centred around the life and work of Commissario Guido Brunetti.

As he is tasked with discovering the perpetrators of crimes within the beautiful city of Venice, the author invites us join with her and her characters in interrogating the ambiguity between moral and legal justice.

This time, two teenage gangs are arrested after clashing violently in one of Venice’s campi, and the son of a local hero is implicated. But when Commissario Guido Brunetti is asked by a wealthy foreigner to vet this man, Monforte, for a job, he discovers that Monforte might not be such a hero after all.

There's an attack on one of Brunetti’s colleagues, the exposure of Monforte’s past, confrontation of the two gangs and a final opportunity for redemption.

But for me, the most interesting and pleasing aspect of this book and all of Donna Leon's novels, is the sense of place. I feel I am living and breathing Venice whenever I read her books. 

Date of this review: May 2024
Book publication date: 18th July 2024