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Suffer the Little Children (2007)

by Donna Leon

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1,2133312,358 (3.56)71
When Commissario Brunetti is summoned in the middle of the night to the hospital bed of a pediatrician, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men--a young carabiniere captain and two privates from out of town--burst into the doctor's apartment while the family was sleeping, attacked him, and took away his eighteen-month-old boy. What could have motivated an assault by the forces of the state that was so violent it has left the doctor mute? As Brunetti delves into the case, he begins to uncover a story of infertility, desperation, and illegal dealings. Then his colleague, Inspector Vianello, discovers a money-making scam between pharmacists and doctors in the city. Medical records are missing and it appears as if one of the pharmacists is after more than money. What secrets are in the records? And what has been done with them?… (more)
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English (25)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This was a tough read. Brunetti is called to the hospital when a doctor is brought in after a raid by the cabinieri. In the process of investigating the incident, Brunetti learns of the practice of 'selling' babies to infertile Italian couples. But that is not the only way laws, human and moral, are imposed to do damage. ( )
  ffortsa | May 28, 2020 |
Brunetti investigates the invasion of a pediatrician's home by another branch of law enforcement. The doctor, who acquired a baby illegally, faces multiple charges, most of which are suddenly dropped. Brunetti's investigation, however, connects with his colleague Inspector Vianello's investigation into pharmacy fraud. I missed the normal interaction between Brunetti and his family members in this installment. Their presence in a few scenes leaves the reader hungering for more. I also noted fewer descriptions of meals--both at home and in restaurants. Leon always includes social justice issues in her plots, but her outcomes tend to show how the system works rather than achieving the result true justice demands. ( )
  thornton37814 | Apr 24, 2020 |
Commissario Guido Brunetti is awakened from his sleep to go to the scene of a home invasion that left its victim, a pediatrician, hospitalized and mute. The more Brunetti uncovers about the event and its causes, the less he likes it. Meanwhile, Inspector Vianello’s months-long investigation into fraud involving some of Venice’s pharmacies is coming to a head. These investigative threads become tangled with tragic consequences.

Leon explores a different social problem in the books in her Brunetti series. This book looks at infertility and black market babies. Brunetti reflects on his love for his children throughout the book, yet the children are largely absent from the novel, appearing only in one brief dinner scene. I enjoy the Brunetti family dynamics and I missed their good-natured banter. Brunetti finally got to the truth, as he usually does, but at a price that I suspect will haunt him. ( )
  cbl_tn | Apr 12, 2020 |
A big draw for this series is the city of Venice. Commisario Brunetti's love for the city is beautifully evoked. Another is Donna Leon's deft use of contemporary social issues as raw material for her plots. The available material is a deep vein to mine. The third is her skillful portrayal of the interior life of her characters.

That interior life is primarily through the eyes of Brunetti but shows up in other characters as well. We see the deep love and compassion that can spring from the human heart as well as the breathtaking cruelty, greed and hatred that can manifest from it. There is a long and storied history of novels that spend so much time in the interior life of their protagonists running all the way back to Henry James, the favorite of Brunetti's beloved, Paola.

There are a myriad of other richly developed characters as well, Signorina Electra, Inspectore Vianello, Vice-Questore Patta, Sergeant Scarpa. And that is before the sometimes startling stream of consciousness of the villains that inhabit her novels. She steers clear of the temptation of dwelling too long in the internal landscape that many authors of this genre fall into. Much of hers is within the mind of the speaker as the dialogue unfolds or in Brunetti's musings as he reads the ancient masters. Leon wields her sharp knife and her deep sense of irony in this engaging device.

Don't look for a seamless plot or a neatly tied procedural. But if you enjoy a gifted writer's nuanced insights into the interior life that drives us all written in a storied locale, then you might want to give this series a try. It's one of my favorites. ( )
  danhammang | Aug 28, 2018 |
Mystery set in Venice. ( )
  EvaW | Apr 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Leon regains her stride and the novel's last fifth is first-rate and masterful.
added by rretzler | editPublishers Weekly (Mar 26, 2007)
 
Not a single murder, but the story would be strong enough without one even without a climactic assault whose only casualty is the characters’ moral certitudes.
added by rretzler | editKirkus Reviews (Mar 1, 2007)
 
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Epigraph
Welche Freude wird das sein,
Wenn die Götter uns bedenken,
Unsrer Liebe Kinder schenken,
So liebe kleine Kinderlein!


How happy we will be
If the gods are gracious
And bless our love with children,
With darling little children!

Die Zauberflöte
The Magic Flute

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For Ravi Mirchandani
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'. . . and then my daughter-in-law told me that I should come in and tell you about it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When Commissario Brunetti is summoned in the middle of the night to the hospital bed of a pediatrician, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men--a young carabiniere captain and two privates from out of town--burst into the doctor's apartment while the family was sleeping, attacked him, and took away his eighteen-month-old boy. What could have motivated an assault by the forces of the state that was so violent it has left the doctor mute? As Brunetti delves into the case, he begins to uncover a story of infertility, desperation, and illegal dealings. Then his colleague, Inspector Vianello, discovers a money-making scam between pharmacists and doctors in the city. Medical records are missing and it appears as if one of the pharmacists is after more than money. What secrets are in the records? And what has been done with them?

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