The Waters of Eternal Youth

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 9780802190314
Release Date: 2016-03-08
Genre: Fiction

In Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series, the Venetian inspector has been called on to investigate many things, from shocking to petty crimes. But in The Waters of Eternal Youth, the 25th novel in this celebrated series, Brunetti finds himself drawn into a case that may not be a case at all. Fifteen years ago, a teenage girl fell into a canal late at night. Unable to swim, she went under and started to drown, only surviving thanks to a nearby man, an alcoholic, who heard her splashes and pulled her out, though not before she suffered irreparable brain damage that left her in a state of permanent childhood, unable to learn or mature. The drunk man claimed he saw her thrown into the canal by another man, but the following day he couldn’t remember a thing. Now, at a fundraising dinner for a Venetian charity, a wealthy and aristocratic patroness—the girl’s grandmother—asks Brunetti if he will investigate. Brunetti’s not sure what to do. If a crime was committed, it would surely have passed the statute of limitations. But out of a mixture of curiosity, pity, and a willingness to fulfill the wishes of a guilt-wracked older woman, who happens to be his mother-in-law’s best friend, he agrees. Brunetti soon finds himself unable to let the case rest, if indeed there is a case. Awash in the rhythms and concerns of contemporary Venetian life, from historical preservation, to housing, to new waves of African migrants, and the haunting story of a woman trapped in a damaged perpetual childhood, The Waters of Eternal Youth is another wonderful addition to this series.

Earthly Remains

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781473539839
Release Date: 2017-04-06
Genre: Fiction

During the interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Commissario Guido Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the aftermath, he begins to doubt his career choices and realises that he needs a break from the stifling problems of his work. Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti is shipped off by his wife, Paola, to a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the Venetian laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’s Natural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan and Brunetti is finally able to relax, until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house, goes missing following a sudden storm. Nobody can find him – not his daughter, not his friends, and not the woman he’d been secretly visiting. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his holiday and discover what happened to the man who had recently become his friend. In Earthly Remains, Donna Leon shows Venice through an insider’s eyes. From family meals and vaporetti rides to the never-ending influx of tourists and suffocating political corruption, the details and rhythms of everyday Venetian life are at the core of this thrilling novel, and of the terrible crime at its heart.

A Noble Radiance

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 9781555849047
Release Date: 2009-02-24
Genre: Fiction

Donna Leon has topped European bestseller lists for more than a decade with a series of mysteries featuring clever Commissario Guido Brunetti. Always ready to bend the rules to uncover the threads of a crime, Brunetti manages to maintain his integrity while maneuvering through a city rife with politics, corruption, and intrigue. In A Noble Radiance a new landowner is summoned urgently to his house not far from Venice when workmen accidentally unearth a macabre grave. The human corpse is badly decomposed, but a ring found nearby proves to be a first clue that reopens an infamous case of kidnapping involving one of Venice's most aristocratic families. Only Commissario Brunetti can unravel the clues and find his way into both the heart of patrician Venice and that of a family grieving for their abducted son.

Falling in Love

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781473518537
Release Date: 2015-04-09
Genre: Fiction

In Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon’s first novel in the Commissario Brunetti series, readers were introduced to the glamorous and cut-throat world of opera and to one of Italy’s finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli – then a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Now, many years after Brunetti cleared her name, Flavia has returned to the illustrious La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca. As an opera superstar, Flavia is well acquainted with attention from adoring fans and aspiring singers. But when one anonymous admirer inundates her with bouquets of yellow roses – on stage, in her dressing room and even inside her locked apartment – it becomes clear that this fan has become a potentially dangerous stalker. Distraught, Flavia turns to an old friend for help. Familiar with Flavia’s melodramatic temperament, Commissario Brunetti is at first unperturbed by her story, but when another young opera singer is attacked he begins to think Flavia’s fears may be justified. In order to keep his friend out of danger, Brunetti must enter the psyche of an obsessive fan and find the culprit before anyone comes to harm.

The Golden Egg

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781448164905
Release Date: 2013-04-04
Genre: Fiction

Celebrated by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers, Donna Leon brings Venice to life in the twenty-second Brunetti novel of this bestselling series, where our detective must uncover the mystery surrounding a mute man's murder. When making routine enquiries into a possible bribery case that could embarrass the mayor – a humiliation Vice-Questore Patta is very keen to avoid – Commissario Brunetti receives a call from his wife, Paola, who is evidently very upset. The middle-aged deaf mute with the mental age of a child who helped out at the Brunetti’s dry cleaners has been found dead – an ‘accidental’ overdose of his mother’s sleeping pills – and Paola is distraught by the news. To the neighbourhood he was just the ‘boy’ who helped out, but nobody knew much about him – not even his name. That a soul could have lived such a joyless life is too much for Paola to bear, and she asks Guido if he can find out what happened. It is a surprise to Brunetti just how little was known about this man-child – there are no official records to show he even existed. The man’s mother is angry and contradictory when questioned about his death, and Brunetti senses that there much more to the story than she is willing to tell. With the help of Inspector Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra, perhaps Brunetti can get to the truth and find some measure of solace.

Willful Behavior

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 9780802198990
Release Date: 2010-08-31
Genre: Fiction

When Commissario Guido Brunetti first meets her, Claudia Leonardo is merely one of his wife Paola’s students. Intelligent and serious, she asks for his help in obtaining a pardon for a crime once committed by her now-dead grandfather. Brunetti thinks little of it—until Claudia is found dead. Unable to find any living relatives, he visits the elderly Austrian woman who was once Claudia’s grandfather’s lover and with whom Claudia was close—and is stunned by the extraordinary art collection she keeps in her otherwise modest apartment. When she, too, is murdered, Brunetti’s investigation uncovers shocking skeletons in the closet of Nazi collaboration that few in Italy want revealed…

The Jewels of Paradise

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 9780802120632
Release Date: 2012-10-02
Genre: Fiction

Donna Leon has won heaps of critical praise and legions of fans for her best-selling mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. With The Jewels of Paradise, Leon takes readers beyond the world of the Venetian Questura in her first standalone novel. Caterina Pellegrini is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she’s had to leave home to pursue her career. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Manchester, England. Manchester, however, is no Venice. When Caterina gets word of a position back home, she jumps at the opportunity. The job is an unusual one. After nearly three centuries, two locked trunks, believed to contain the papers of a baroque composer have been discovered. Deeply-connected in religious and political circles, the composer died childless; now two Venetians, descendants of his cousins, each claim inheritance. Caterina’s job is to examine any enclosed papers to discover the “testamentary disposition” of the composer. But when her research takes her in unexpected directions she begins to wonder just what secrets these trunks may hold. From a masterful writer, The Jewels of Paradise is a superb novel, a gripping tale of intrigue, music, history and greed.

Death at La Fenice

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781448183753
Release Date: 2015-07-30
Genre: Fiction

The twisted maze of Venice's canals has always been shrouded in mystery. Even the celebrated opera house, La Fenice, has seen its share of death ... but none so horrific and violent as that of world-famous conductor, Maestro Helmut Wellauer, who was poisoned during a performance of La Traviata. Even Commissario of Police, Guido Brunetti, used to the labyrinthine corruptions of the city, is shocked at the number of enemies Wellauer has made on his way to the top - but just how many have motive enough for murder? The beauty of Venice is crumbling. But evil is one thing that will never erode with age.

Death and Judgment

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 9781555848972
Release Date: 2014-01-14
Genre: Fiction

In Death and Judgment, a truck crashes and spills its dangerous cargo on a treacherous road in the Italian Dolomite mountains. Meanwhile, in Santa Lucia, a prominent international lawyer is found dead aboard an intercity train. Suspecting a connection between the two tragedies, Brunetti digs deep for an answer, stumbling upon a seedy Venetian bar that holds the key to a crime network that reaches far beyond the laguna. But it will take another violent death in Venice before Brunetti and his colleagues begin to understand what is really going on.

Death in a Strange Country

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555848982
Release Date: 2008-12-30
Genre: Fiction

Early one morning Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Police confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young man is fished out of a fetid canal. All the clues point to a violent mugging, but for Brunetti the motive of robbery seems altogether too convenient. When something is discovered in the victim’s apartment that suggests the existence of a high-level conspiracy, Brunetti becomes convinced that somebody, somewhere, is taking great pains to provide a ready-made solution to the crime. Rich with atmosphere and marvelous plotting, Death in a Strange Country is a superb novel in Donna Leon’s chilling Venetian mystery series.

Doctored Evidence

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 9781555848996
Release Date: 2007-12-01
Genre: Fiction

As the novel opens, a doctor arrives at the apartment of Maria Grazia Battestini, an elderly shut-in who is hated by everyone around her (including her only surviving relative, her neice) for her miserly, spiteful ways. The doctor dreads his task of visiting her once a week, since she is always complaining about her Romanian illegal-immigrant housekeeper etc. But on this visit the doctor finds Battestini brutally murdered, having been struck by a blunt object in the skull. He immediately reports the murder to the police and the second Lieutenant Scarpa hears that the old lady had a Romanian housekeeper, they assume she was the murderer. He has his men check all of the trains leaving the city and sure enough, the housekeeper, whose name is Flori, is found on the train with a purse containing 600 euros. While she is being questioned by Scarpa's arrogant men, however, she fleas, only to be struck by a train on the opposite track. Scarpa, satisfied that Flori murdered Battestini, decides not to pursue any other suspects. Weeks later, the old lady's neighbor, Signora Gismondi, returns from a trip to London to discover that the old lady is dead and the housekeeper was named the murderer. She calls the police to plead otherwise: on the day of the murder, the housekeeper had been fired and locked out of her house by the old lady, upon which Signora Gismondi had given her some money and offered to take her to the train station so that she could return to her native Romania. Gismondi had personally driven the housekeeper to the station, and had dropped her off there in a calm state, meaning it was unlikely that she committed the murder before leaving to Romania. Scarpa, however, is convinced that Signora Gismondi is lying. Like most of his colleagues, he is a lazy, distrustful, unimaginative police officer who wants to find the easiest solution rather than truly investigating. On the other hand, Commissario Guido Brunetti believes that the woman is telling the truth. He realizes that although he is not assigned to the case, it is his duty to follow through with the woman's tip and find the real killer. After questioning Gismondi, Brunetti searches Battestini's apartmenting, finding among her papers an odd one that seems to be written in code. He takes it back to the office and someone realizes it is a list of bank account numbers. Signorina Elettra, a desk worker who used to work at a bank and is an expert in computer hacking, examines the accounts and discovers that someone had been depositing a fixed monthly amount into each of the right up until the day after the woman's death, when an unknown person consolidated all the accounts and moved them to an offshore account. Commissario Brunetti questions Battestini's lawyer, the woman who was encharged with all of her affairs. She confesses that she was the one who moved the accounts offshore, but that Signora Battestini never told her the source of the payments. In questioning people, Brunetti learns more about Battestini's son, who died five years earlier. Rumors circulate that he was gay and died of AIDS. Battestini's mail carrier reveals that once she was delivering his mail and a pornographic magazine depicting adolescent boys slipped out of its bag. Brunetti also learns that the son worked for the school board. Meanwhile Battestini's doctor reveals that he once heard Battestini brag that her son took very good care of her. Brunetti begins to wonder if perhaps the son was responsible for the deposits in Battestini's accounts. Brunetti begins to suspect that the son was blackmailing someone involved with the board of education, where he used to work. So he interviews the director of the board of ed, Signor Rossi. Signor Rossi says he didn't really know the son, but Brunetti suspects he is lying. Brunetti returns to Battestini's old apartment (where she was murdered) and when he looks in the attic, he finds that it has been ransacked. Someone has come here looking for something. Accidentally, he breaks a statue of the Madonna and inside of it he finds a piece of paper. It is a letter from Signor Rossi (the board of ed director)'s old school saying that they have no record of him every having received a doctorate there. Suddenly, Brunetti puts it all together: Battestini's son, when he was an assistant at the board of ed and Signor Rossi applied for the job there, received this letter and rather than taking it to his superior, decided to blackmail Signor Rossi. Signor Rossi had been paying Battestini off ever since. When Battestini found out that Signor Rossi was angling for a promotion, she decided to invite him to her house to ask him for more money. He couldn't afford it, and she threatened to go public with the information that he was a fraud. He became enraged and killed her. In the last scene, Brunetti forces Rossi to confess. Because of the quirks of the Italian legal system, he will probably not have to serve much time, and so Bruneeeeeetti, though he is not religious, tries to console himself in the assurance of his wife that a higher power will sort it out in the end.

The Anonymous Venetian

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 0330344129
Release Date: 1995
Genre: Brunetti, Guido (Fictitious character)

Commissario Brunetti's hopes of a refreshing holiday with his family are dashed when a body is found in Marghera so badly beaten that the face is unrecognizable. Brunetti searches in vain for someone who can identify the body. Then he receives a call promising some tantalizing information.

Drawing Conclusions

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446457795
Release Date: 2011-04-07
Genre: Fiction

A young woman returns from holiday to find her elderly neighbour dead on the floor. A heart attack seems the likely cause, but Commissario Brunetti is not so sure and decides to take a closer look. Soon he discovers that she was part of an organization that cares for abused women and that her apartment was a safe-house. Convinced that this is the lead he has been looking for, Brunetti begins his search for answers. But as he sets out to discover the truth behind her death, he is drawn into a decades-old story of lies and deceit that has blighted love and ruined lives - and has claimed this innocent woman as its newest victim. Brunetti's investigation takes him deep into the dark heart of his beloved Venice.

Beastly Things

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781446473580
Release Date: 2012-04-05
Genre: Fiction

When a body is found floating in a canal, strangely disfigured and with multiple stab wounds, Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate and is convinced he recognises the man from somewhere. However, with no identification except for the distinctive shoes the man was wearing, and no reports of people missing from the Venice area, the case cannot progress. Brunetti soon realises why he remembers the dead man, and asks Signorina Elettra if she can help him find footage of a farmers' protest the previous autumn. But what was his involvement with the protest, and what does it have to do with his murder? Acting on the fragile lead, Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello set out to uncover the man's identity. Their investigation eventually takes them to a slaughterhouse on the mainland, where they discover the origin of the crime, and the world of blackmail and corruption that surrounds it. Both a gripping case and a harrowing exploration of the dark side of Italy's meat industry, Donna Leon's latest novel is a compelling addition to the Brunetti series.

Dressed for Death

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555849008
Release Date: 2008-12-30
Genre: Fiction

Commissario Guido Brunetti’s hopes for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera—a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. He then receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information. And before the night is out, Brunetti is confronting yet another appalling, and apparently senseless, death.