By Its Cover is the 23rd Guido Brunetti novel from Donna Leon, and the first one in a sumptuous series that has left me disappointed. All the usual Leon ingredients are present - corruption, gastronomy, philosophy, glorious Venice- but somehow the story didn't quite make it out of second gear. Even by the standards of Brunetti, the most engaging of fictional detectives if not the most dynamic, his investigation of the theft of rare and valuable books is lethargic. Perhaps the futility of the apprehension of criminals that the corrupt state allows to go free finally became too much for him.
Review of previous Donna Leon novels:
Beastly Things (2012)
The Girl of his Dreams (2008)