The Commissario and me

Acqua alta or Highwater in Venice. Photo by Paolo de Reggio.

Acqua alta or Highwater in Venice. Photo by Paolo de Reggio.

I just read a Donna Leon mystery and, as always, loved the setting (Venice!), the pace of it, the involving plot, and the Commissario, Guido Brunetti. The Commissario is a bastion of decency in an awful world, and a charming human being besides.

Trapped in a society that’s riddled through with corruption, where the few manipulate the majority in order to amass power and wealth, he discovers again and again that there’s very little he can do to bring about justice. It’s a desperate and despondent view of the world.

I’m almost through with the first draft of my third book in the Alex and Ms. M series. Like all mysteries, it’s about the pursuit of justice. The people aren’t exactly virtuous, and justice turns out to be hard to come by, but the book is also a little silly, and, since it’s a cozy mystery, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

My book is very different from Leon’s. I couldn’t live in the Commissario’s world, although I’d love to wander around Brunetti’s Venice, a city he loves. The high seriousness of Leon’s books impresses me. I’ve lived most of my life embracing causes, caring about the environment, peace, justice. And writing about those things too. My mysteries suddenly seemed to me–like fluff.

Am I like the friend who just quit Facebook and declared she would no longer listen to NPR?!

I don’t have a point to make. This is just a note in my ongoing effort to understand what I’m doing. If you know and I don’t seem to, please tell me.

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