At the start of Earthly Remains, Commissario Guido Brunetti, confronted once more by someone of privilege avoiding censure, loses patience at work, and in the aftermath realizes that he needs a break and is granted leave from the Questura. His wife, Paola, urges him to spend time at a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant'Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he passes his nights reading Pliny's Natural History and his days rowing with the villa's caretaker, Davide Casati, who is seeking the reason his bee colonies in the laguna are suffering. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Casati goes missing following a sudden storm. Compelled to investigate, Brunetti sets aside his leave of absence to understand what happened to the man who has become his friend, in the process dredging up dark memories of an accident and cover-up years before. Earthly Remains is quintessential Donna Leon, a powerful addition to this enduring series.