Donna Leon's international best-selling and award-winning Commissario Guido
Brunetti novels have been praised for their ability to place their readers into
the thick of contemporary Venetian life. Now Blood from a Stone brings
Commissario Brunetti back on the scene: On a cold Venetian night shortly before
Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo Santo Stefano. The
closest witnesses to the event are the American tourists who had been browsing
the man's waresfake designer handbagsbefore his death. The dead man had been
working as a vu cumpra, one of the many African immigrants peddling goods
outside normal shop hours and trading without work permits.
Commissario Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: Why would anyone
kill an illegal immigrant? Because these workers have few social connections and
little money, infighting seems to be the answer. And yet the killings have all
the markings of a professional operation. Once Brunetti begins to investigate
this unfamiliar Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value
are at stake within the secretive society.
While his wife, Paola, struggles to come to terms with their young daughter's
prejudices about the immigrants, Brunetti finds that his own police force shares
many of the same biases. Warned by Patta, his superior, to desist from further
involvement in the case, Brunetti only becomes more determined to unearth the
truth. How far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture of
Venice's illegal community? And how high does the corruption reach into the
upper echelons of Brunetti's own world and the world at large?
By a confirmed master storyteller, Blood from a Stone is a pitch-perfect
mystery, an alluring portrait of contemporary Venice, and an elucidating eye
into the attitudes of a timeless place in the grip of change.
One of the many things to like about this series is watching Brunetti persist in doing the best and most honest job he can, despite the idiocy and corruption of his bosses. He's an everyman who keeps his perspective and humanity despite being a small cog in the mother of all bureaucracies (aka the Italian government). (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Library Journal - Michele Leber
Starred Review. Despite the dispiriting and all-too-plausible ending, the evocative Venetian setting and the warmth and humanity of the Brunetti family add considerable pleasure to this nuanced, intelligent mystery; another winner from the Venice-based Leon. Highly recommended for all mystery collections.
Starred Review. Commissario Guido Brunetti's 14th case (Doctored Evidence, 2004, etc.) may be his best yet.....Leon's most adroit balance of teasing mystery, Brunetti's droll battles with his co-workers and higher-ups, and intimations of something far deeper and darker behind the curtain.
Starred Review. In this stunning novel, the 14th to feature the dogged, intuitive Venetian police detective Guido Brunetti Leon combines an engrossing, complex plot with an indictment of the corruption endemic to Italian society.
Booklist - Bill Ott
Starred Review. Crime fiction for those willing to grapple with, rather than escape, the uncertainties of daily life.
Another of her fabulous Italian mysteries . . . She has her finger on the pulse.
Donna Leon was born in the USA but has lived in Venice for about 25 years. Previously she lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, England, Iran and China. She says that the idea for the series came about in the early 80s when she and a friend were in a dressing room at La Fenice (Venice's principle theatre) chatting with the conductor and his wife, and they began to talk of wanting to murder a certain conductor. Something clicked..."and since we were in a conductors dressing room, I thought hmm where, how?..."
She is a professor of English Literature at a university near Venice and also the crime reviewer for the Sunday Times newspaper (UK), and an expert on opera. She admits that the character of Brunetti's wife, Paola, is based somewhat on herself!
- Death at La Fenice (UK 1992)
- Death in a Strange Country (UK 1993)
- Dressed for Death (UK 1994)
- Death and Judgment (UK 1996)
- Acqua Alta (UK 1996)
- The Death of Faith (1997)...
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