From Donna Leon the most exotic city in the world is shown from the point of view of the people who live there. The workings of the office heating system, the schedules of water taxis and the rising waters can take precedence over the beauty of the great squares, palaces and museums.
At times, Brunetti felt that Venice had been turned into a whore forced to choose between different johns: first the city was offered a face from a Phoenician glass earring, saw the poster reproduced a thousand times, then that was quickly replaced by a portrait by Titian, which in turn was driven out by Andy Warhol, himself then quickly banished by a Celtic silver deer as the museums covered every available surface of the city and vied endlessly for the attention and box-office receipts of the passing tourists. What would come next, he wondered, Leonardo T-shirts? No, they already had them in Florence. He'd seen enough posters for art shows to last a lifetime in hell.
It is pleasant to journey off to Venice with the inspector, his sidekick, and bright, gentle wife and learn about tourists waltzing by in shorts and ice cream cones. My little Mayan village is being over-run suddenly by bus-loads of cruise ship passengers, Mexican vacationers and confident, American families walking down the center of the street slurping ice cream cones. It is pleasant to stop for a visit with the Dottore solve some mysteries, see some action and danger and learn what life would be like if we lived someplace really exotic.