This is the seventeenth Commissario Brunetti novel and something of a change from the earlier ones.
He and Ispettore Vianello respond to a call and pull a young girl from the water. She is blonde and
has been dead for several hours. She is a Rom to use the pc term but, possibly because she had been
thieving, her family neither report her missing nor seem interested in claiming her body. The book opens at Brunetti's father's funeral, a scene which is very eloquently portrayed, which provides the
impetus for a side story as the priest, who had been a schoolboy bully acquaintance of Brunetti's, asks
him to investigate a preacher who appears to be obtaining money fraudulently. This Brunetti does
and is able to put a stop to the fraud's activities without getting directly involved as his thoughts are
occupied by the girl's death. it appears she has fallen from the roof of a house which she had been
burgling but his suspicions are roused by the reactions of the family involved. At the end, he is left with a probable scenario for the girl's death which he is never going to prove, the book ending with
the burial of the dead girl with only Brunetti and Vianello in attendance, her family having since left
the area, apparently having been paid off - but for what? In some ways the absence of a specific
crime investigation at the centre of the book is not missed as Brunetti's efforts to settle what had happened to the girl provides the thrust of the novel but the overall impression is one of loss - of
innocence especially and of human concern for others. Well up to the very high standard Donna Leon has set herself.