There was none of the usual joking with which they displayed their boundless affection for one another.If you write like that you do, at some level, think your readers are idiots. And then you can have all the untranslated Italian bits you like wedged in, it still shows. Also, apropos Italian, I'm just annoyed by the untranslation of certain terms and in particular titles. Dottore indeed. Bloody hell. It's merely pretentious! "Look at all the Italian I know!"
Anyway, the story is that Brunetti is approached by a young woman who used to be a nun and work at the nursing-home where his mother stays. Now she has left the order, and says it's because she feels something is being covered up. She asked some questions about some of the old people's deaths, and felt she was being told to keep quiet about it. Brunetti fishes for a bit but finds nothing to hold on to, but then someone tries to murder Maria the ex-nun ... There is a parallell storyline about the religious instruction at his children's school, and most importantly about the priest who takes confession there and who is clearly a paedophile. So a very up-to-date topic, really.
The author and therefore her characters are very anti-religion. As I've written somewhere before, I don't like conspiracy theories. I don't believe in them. And while I, as a Catholic, don't like Opus Dei or their take on my religion, I don't think that the organisation is worth the reams of conspiracy theories that are generated around it. I don't think that the bad and evil things that have been/are being done within the Catholic church can be ascribed to sinister plots by sinister men. I think that it's more awful, I think that most people are stupid and do stupid and selfish things (at best), and then muddle about trying to cover them up, and then other people do the same. But it's not that organised. And this book has a lot of the classic thinking of Vatican as the big octopus with tentacles e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Maybe it's more true of Italy? Maybe I don't get it? But I think I do know a fair bit and have seen a fair share of the Church's bad side, and I don't believe in the conspiracy ideas. I think they're simplistic and a little silly. The truth is more complex and therefore worse.
Book oddity: reference to a "dead-hampster handshake". I seriously hope "hampster" is a typo. But on the whole I've never heard the term - bizarre!