Book Review: The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon

Ted and Gloria Feit have been sending me reviews to post here on Buried
Under Books for a long time and we’ve enjoyed every one of them. Ted
passed away suddenly on September 13, 2018 at the age of 87 and we’ll
miss his thoughts on a wide variety of crime fiction. I still have some of
his reviews to post, enough to keep us entertained for a good while.

Rest in peace, Ted.


The Waters of Eternal Youth
A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery #25
Donna Leon
Grove/Atlantic Monthly Press March 2016
ISBN 978-0-8021-2637-5
Trade Paperback

The Guido Brunetti mystery series always takes the reader on a guided tour of Venice, where he is a Commissario of police.  The plot of this novel is somewhat different from that of its predecessors. When he is forced to attend a dinner at his titled in-laws on behalf of a countess, he takes on a case that hardly could be called a case:  The countess asks him to look into an event that took place 15 years previously.

It seems the countess’ granddaughter was thrown (or fell) into a canal, rescued by a drunken man, but suffered brain damage, the result of oxygen deprivation to the brain when she was under water too long.  Consequently, the child, now a woman 30 years old, has the mental state of a seven-year old.  Without a clue, Brunetti tries to locate the rescuer, who is murdered just before they were to meet.  Now we have a murder to solve as well.

I have enjoyed every novel in the series I have read.  In each, Brunetti has painstakingly solved each mystery through careful and logical analysis.  In The Waters of Eternal Youth, however, the resolution takes place by an accident, ex parte  of  any police work.  Mere happenstance, and less satisfying, although the result provides the author the means to end the book with an interesting and gratifying twist.


Reviewed by Ted Feit, April 2018.