Donna Leon's second Guido Brunetti book, Death in a Strange Country followed close on the heels of her first, as she established from the start the pace that has allowed her to write thirty-plus books in barely 25 years.
The "strange country" of the title refers to the uneasy existence of U.S. military troops on European soil, something that was established at the end of World War II and then expanded greatly as the NATO alliance grew and deepened over the following decades.
You could see the "strange country" in either direction, as the American military personnel clearly find themselves in strange country whenever they are posted abroad, or conversely as Brunetti experiences when he visits the base:
The walls held posters of unnamed cities which, because of the height and homogeneity of their skyscrapers, had to be American. That nation was loudly proclaimed, too, in the many signs which forbade smoking and in the notices which covered the bulletin boards along the walls. The marble floor was the only Italianate touch.
The case which Brunetti must solve intricately winds in and out of these two strange countries, Italy and the American military base, sending Brunetti and his colleagues back and forth as leads point this way and that, and in the end the case becomes a tangled knot of corrupt officials, organized crime, and unfortunate happeners-on who found themselves consumed by the consequences.
As is, I expect, a theme with all of Leon's books, Death in a Strange Country features a critical point where Brunetti must make a judgement call of his own, choosing his own path to follow and making his own decisions about where the distinction lies between justice and law.
Though it took me a long time to get through Leon's first book, personal circumstances were such that I flew through the second one, finishing it in only a few days.
However, just as with the first, I ended Death in a Strange Country eager to begin the next Brunetti novel (which is already on its way!).