SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN (Police Procedural-Comm. Brunetti-Venice-Cont) – VG+
Leon, Donna – 16th in series
William Heinemann: London, 2007, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9780434016259

First Sentence: …and then my daughter-in-law told me that I should come in and tell you about it.

Commissario Guido Brunetti is awakened and ask to come to the hospital. A doctor of Pedriatics has been severely beaten. Three armed men broke into the apartment of the doctor and his wife and took away their 18 month old son. It seems the men were not local police, but Carabinieri, or military police and there as part of a raid on family who had adopted children illegally. During Brunetti’s team’s investigation, they discover a money-making scheme between the doctors and pharmacists wherein one of the pharmacists is motivated by his perception of improving morality.

Leon is a wonderful writer. Her ability to create sense of place and society is one of the best and she balances that with a humanity and humor in her characters. Brunetti is not one of the angst-ridden protagonists, but has a wife, family and city that he adores. The story is, at times, heart wrenching but the author doesn’t overplay those aspects. The ending seemed a bit abrupt and was tragic but I did figure out the villain fairly soon into the book. However, Leon is always worth reading, just for her wonderful style.

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