books

Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Transient Desires

Transient Desires (2021) Donna Leon (Commissario Brunetti) Two young American women were left on the dock outside the hospital–one with serious injuries. What happened? Why were they abandoned? These and other questions lead Brunetti and his fellow officer Griffoni to find out what happened to the women–and more importantly, why. This is another of the […]

Death at La Fenice

Death at La Fenice (1992) Donna Leon (Commissario Brunetti) A famous conductor is found dead during the intermission of the opera he was conducting. The police are called, and so we are first introduced to Guido Brunetti, Comissario of the Venice police. What surprises me every time I re-read this is just how good it […]

Trace Elements

Trace Elements (2020) Donna Leon (Commissario Guido Brunetti) Book 29 of the Commissario Guido Brunetti series. Brunetti and Griffoni go to a hospice because a dying woman wants to talk to them. Her husband recently was killed in a car accident, and she seems to be telling them that he was killed. Brunetti finally accepted […]

Unto Us a Son Is Given

Unto Us a Son Is Given (2019) Donna Leon Brunetti’s father-in-law is worried about a friend, and asks Guido to see if his concerns are justified. ‘Gonzalo’s my best friend. We were at boarding school together.’ He looked across at Brunetti and said, unable to restrain his surprise, ‘My God, it was more than sixty […]

The Temptation of Forgiveness

The Temptation of Forgiveness (2018) Donna Leon One of Paola’s co-workers comes to Brunetti because she fears her son is using drugs. Elletra seems to have gotten herself into a spot of troupe. Patta wants Brunetti to deak with issues with Scarpa. The instinct to institutional survival stilled Brunetti’s tongue. He waved his hand and […]

Earthly Remains

Earthly Remains (2017) Donna Leon The 26th Brunetti mystery sees nothing of Brunetti’s children, and very little of Paola. Although there is of course food. It seems like the corruption in Venice has finally gotten to Brunetti. In order to save Pucetti from himself, Guido pretends to fall ill, and then is unable to stop […]

The Waters of Eternal Youth

The Waters of Eternal Youth (2016) Donna Leon This is the 25th book in the Guido Brunetti series, which shouldn’t surprise me, yet somehow does. Brunetti remains as astute as ever, with many sharp little comments on life. Contessa Lando-Continui had always been polite to him, at times even warm, but he had always wondered […]

Falling in Love

Falling in Love (2015) Donna Leon And now, I have read and re-read all the published Donna Leon, Commisario Brunetti books. We return once again to the Opera and Flavia Petrelli. La Fenice is putting on Tosca, and Flavia has the lead role. Brunetti and Paola meet her after the opening night, and invite her […]

By its Cover

By its Cover (2014) Donna Leon At last, we reach the books I had not yet read. The 23rd book finds Brunetti called to investigate the theft of both books and pages cut from old and rare books. Old books had always filled Brunetti with nostalgia for centuries in which he had not lived. … […]

The Golden Egg

The Golden Egg (2013) Donna Leon This mystery is good, but the resolution is so awful, it makes me dislike the whole book. This, I think, sums up what I found so awful (don’t worry, not a spoiler): ‘I wonder if it’s possible that he got to the point where his life was so bad, […]

Beastly Things

Beastly Things (2012) Donna Leon Although I had forgotten most of the mystery, the scenes of Brunetti and Vianello going into the slaughterhouse I remembered quite vividly–their horror and disgust at what they witnessed. Again, Rizzardi continues to be one of my favorite characters, even though we usually only see him once a book. ‘Miracle?’ […]

Drawing Conclusions

Drawing Conclusions (2010) Donna Leon And older woman is found dead in her apartment by her neighbor, and although her death is ruled a heart attack, something strikes Brunetti as wrong about the scene, and so he looks into the life of the woman, and why someone might want to do her harm. Anna Maria […]

A Question of Belief

A Question of Belief (2010) Donna Leon The 19th Commisarrio Brunetti book finds Guido and his family ready for their vacation in the mountains–and an escape to the oppressive heat and humidity of Venice. Though the heat often drove people to violence, that was not the case this year. Perhaps there was some point where […]

About Face

About Face (2009) Donna Leon I clearly remembered parts of this book, which meant I wanted to re-read it. Guido and Paola are invited to a dinner at her parents’, and Guido meets a woman who captivates his attention. ‘I beg your pardon.’ Brunetti answered, stalling. ‘You beg my pardon because you don’t understand my […]

The Girl of His Dreams

The Girl of His Dreams (2008) Donna Leon The 17th Commissario Brunetti mystery opens with a funeral–Brunetti’s mother has finally died. This isn’t a cruel statement, just a recognition that she wasn’t the woman who raised two sons, but was instead made into a shell of herself by dementia. The mystery starts when a priest–a […]

Suffer the Little Children

Suffer the Little Children (2007) Donna Leon Weirdly, I had no memory of reading this, and in fact thought I had not read it before. I know why this is so, but it is still a strange feeling, to re-read a book and have no memory of the previous reading. The book opens with a […]

Through a Glass, Darkly

Through a Glass, Darkly (2006) Donna Leon This book does not open with murder–or even with much in the way of crime. It instead finds Brunetti and Vianello heading out to Mestre to help one of Vianello’s friends/acquaintances who had been arrested during environmental protests. I haven’t said much in these reviews about food, which […]

Blood from a Stone

Blood from a Stone (2005) Donna Leon A young African man–a vú cumprá, or street vendor–is shot down on the street in what seems to be a professional hit. Brunetti, Vianello and Signorina Elettra attempt to discover why the man was murdered in cold blood, but at every turn they run into road blocks–and not […]

Doctored Evidence

Doctored Evidence (2004) Donna Leon An unpleasant old woman is found murdered–bludgeoned to death in her apartment. It seems like an open-and-shut case of the badly-treated hired help having done it–especially when the woman is found fleeing the country and is hit by a trail and killed trying to escape the police. But all is […]

Uniform Justice

Uniform Justice (2003) Donna Leon This is a somewhat distressing story, since it starts with the death of a teenager–just so you’ve been warned. Since he had learned of the boy’s death, Brunetti had been assailed by the desire to know if the man had other children, but couldn’t bring himself to ask. He had […]

Willful Behavior

Willful Behavior (2002) Donna Leon The eleventh Commissario Brunetti book finds both Guido and Paola involved in the favors and requests that pervade Venice (and Italy). ‘But you have to let me do something for you.’ ‘All right, you can,’ Brunetti said immediately. ‘Good. What? Anything.’ ‘The next time we eat at the restaurant, ask […]

A Sea of Troubles

A Sea of Troubles (2001) Donna Leon The tenth Commissario Brunetti mystery finds Signorina Elettra deciding to take a more active role in the investigation of the murders of a fisherman and his son. We get Brunetti’s observations upon the people around him, of course. Her smile, which exposed perfect teeth and permitted the appearance […]

Friends in High Places

Friends in High Places (1999) Donna Leon The ninth Commissario Brunetti book finds the Brunetti family possibly in danger of losing their apartment. ‘I’m afraid there is some doubt as to the official status of your apartment.’ “‘Official status”?’ Brunetti repeated, looking off to the left of Rossi, to the solid wall and then up […]

Fatal Remedies

Fatal Remedies (1999) Donna Leon I actually didn’t repurchase this as an ebook, because I clearly remembered not liking it the first time around. Mind you, I’m not saying it’s not good, because it is good. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The 8th mystery opens with Paola breaking the window of […]

A Noble Radiance

A Noble Radiance (1998) Donna Leon The seventh Commissario Brunetti mystery opens with a body (more bones than body) discovered when a field is plowed. We get to enjoy the usual characters, of course. Signorina Elettra was at his door before he could answer his own question. ‘Please come in,’ he called. ‘You found it […]