Drawing Conclusions

Donna Leon's twentieth Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery has all the qualities that have made the series one of the most enduring pleasures in contemporary detective fiction: a noble and credible hero, an endlessly fascinating setting (Venice), a bracing concern for social justice, and, best of all for this reader, secondary characters—I'm thinking of Brunetti's wife Paola and his resourceful colleague Signorina Elettra—who always seem to steal the show.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…