What is a propriety

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Commissario Brunetti in Donna Leon's crime novels

Donna Leon's crime stories have been published since 1992, in which the Venetian inspector Brunetti solves tricky criminal cases with a great deal of commitment, but always with decency. In the meantime (2016) there are 25 cases, and the author is still not lacking in topics and ideas. The topics put Italy, but also Venice, in a less friendly light and point to many serious grievances: corruption, greed, unscrupulousness, environmental pollution, inhumanity, vindictiveness - the list is incomplete. For this reason, i.e. out of sheer courtesy and tactfulness on the part of the author towards Italy, the novels never appear in Italian.

Commissario Brunetti, who mastered all these 25 cases with flying colors, never appears arrogant, never aggressive, never hostile in his work towards the wrongdoers, although he always has a clear judgment and fundamentally abhores any crime. Brunetti does not age (in contrast to his film actor Uwe Kockisch), Brunetti never tires of fulfilling his job, but also his duties as a family man and husband. The intact family, the educated and independent wife Paola (from the respected Falier family), the family and professional relationships and his stable personality make it possible for Bruneti to defy all difficulties and against any resistance (including that of his opportunistic, but ultimately good-hearted superior Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta) to remain true to yourself. Sometimes he needs information from his father-in-law, the Conte, who knows the old families of Venice and has intricate communication channels. These dark sources of information cause him remorse because he would rather only work with correctly and independently researched facts. Patta's secretary, who incidentally provides compensation in delicate disputes between the inspector and vice-questore, who ensures a cultivated environment with flower arrangements in the relaxed moments, helps him with her confident computer skills and miraculously procures sensitive data that Brunetti's work is crucial in Advance Phases. Although these investigations are not always entirely legal, since the criminals cannot otherwise be arrested, Brunetti depends on such information from the virtual world.

The first case that Brunetti has to solve is the death of a successful, but also a power-obsessed conductor named Wellauer. Brunetti finds out that, in addition to his Nazi past, Wellauer also had pedophile tendencies. Wellauer even assaulted his young wife's daughter. In revenge, his wife, a doctor, injected him with antibiotics to make him lose his hearing. When Wellauer notices this, he stages his suicide as if he had been murdered by his wife. Brunetti's decency forbids him from exposing the whole truth in the final report. He doesn't lie, but he doesn't describe everything either and thus protects the widow and her daughter from defamation. So Brunetti first and foremost protects the real victim and helps to ensure that an elegant line can be drawn under the terrible past.