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On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a man is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death - fake handbags of every designer label. Officially termed a venditore ambulante or extracomunitario, the dead man was working as a vu cumpra, one of the many Black Africans purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits. Arriving on the scene, Commissario Brunetti's response matches that of everybody involved: why would anyone kill a vu cumpra? With few social connections and little money, in-fighting amongst these workers is the obvious answer. But once Brunetti begins investigating this Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake within the immigrant society. Warned by Patta, his superior, to resist further involvement in the case, Brunetti only becomes more determined to unearth the truth behind this mysterious killing. However, reluctant as he is to let this event be smugly relegated to the category of 'not worth dealing with', how far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture of Venice's illegal community?

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Donna Leon

Donna Leon is the American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice, Italy, featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti. In 2003, she received the Corine Literature Prize.

Leon lived in Venice for over 30 years and was a lecturer in English literature for the University of Maryland College, Europe, in Italy and then worked as a professor from 1981 to 1999 at the American military base of Vicenza, Italy. Eventually, she stopped teaching and concentrated on writing and other cultural activities in the field of music.

Her Commissario Brunetti novels all take place in or around Venice. They are written in English and have been translated into many foreign languages, but--at Leon's request--not into Italian. The ninth Brunetti novel, Friends in High Places, won the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger in 2000. German television has produced 22 Commissario Brunetti episodes for broadcast

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Professionally Packed

All of our books that a have dust wrapper are covered in clear protective, removable film and are packed professionally in bubble wrap and a box for shipping so that they reach you in perfect condition.