Beastly things by Donna Leon, a Guido Brunetti novel, is number 12 in the series set in Venice but each can be read as a separate book where Commissario Guido Brunetti and his colleagues have a crime to solve. This time an unidentified body is found floating in a canal, therefore no obvious crime scene.
The crime, however, is only one part of Guido Brunetti novels. Descriptions of the city of Venice form a major feature of the stories. Members of Brunetti's family are not just background characters and by the end of the book the reader has experienced Brunetti's views, not just on resolving the crime but also on day to day life in Venice. In this book investigations lead to a slaughter house on the mainland with animal rights issues, particularly the killing of animals for food, becoming a topic for discussion among some of the characters.