Picks and Pans Review: Doctored Evidence

updated 05/03/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/03/2004 01:00AM

By Donna Leon

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No one seems unhappy that Maria Battestini has been bludgeoned to death in Venice. Even her doctor, who discovered the corpse, calls her "an old shrew." After the case goes cold, only the persistence of Commissario Guido Brunetti, the wily hero of this satisfying crime novel and 12 others, can overcome police lethargy. More Columbo than Dirty Harry, Brunetti is an endearingly human, very Italian figure who goes home for stupendous lunches with the family. He's also aware of his own ethical lapses. But as he ponders the seven deadly sins, he never loses sight of his ultimate goal: justice.

MYSTERY

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