The Golden Egg: Book summary and reviews of The Golden Egg by Donna Leon

The Golden Egg

A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

by Donna Leon

The Golden Egg
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2013
    256 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

Over the years, the Donna Leon's best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has conquered the heart of lovers of finely-plotted character-driven mysteries all over the world. Brunetti, both a perceptive sleuth and a principled family man, has exposed readers to Venice in all its aspects: its history, beauty, architecture, seasons, food and social life, but also the crime and corruption that seethe below the surface of La Serenissima.

In The Golden Egg, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Brunetti's ambitious boss, Patta, asks him to look into a seemingly insignificant violation of public vending laws by a shopkeeper, who happens to be the future daughter-in-law of the Mayor. Brunetti, who has no interest in helping Patta enrich his political connections, has little choice but to ask around to see if the bribery could cause a scandal.

Then, Brunetti's wife Paola comes to him with an unusual request of her own. The deaf, mentally disabled man who worked at their dry-cleaners has died of a sleeping-pill overdose, and Paola's kind heart can't take the idea that he lived and died without anyone noticing him, or helping him.

To please her, Brunetti begins to ask questions. He is surprised when he finds that the man left no official record: no birth certificate, no passport, no driver's license, no credit cards. The man owns nothing, is registered nowhere. As far as the Italian government is concerned, the man never existed. It is even more surprising because, with his physical and mental handicaps, both he and his mother were entitled to financial support from the state. And yet, despite no official record of the man's life, there is his body.

Stranger still, the dead man's mother is reluctant to speak to the police and claims that her son's identification papers were stolen in a burglary. As clues stack up, Brunetti suspects that the Lembos, a family of aristocratic copper magnates, might be somehow connected to the death. But could anyone really want this sweet, simple-minded man dead?

Donna Leon's Brunetti series has gotten better and better in recent years, with countless reviews praising her remarkable ability to keep the books fresh, the depths of feeling genuine. This story of a troubled life is undoubtedly one of her most touching, emotionally powerful books, a standout for the series.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Appreciative of feminine charms, the deeply uxorious Brunetti amply displays the keen intelligence and wry humor that has endeared this series to so many." - Publishers Weekly

"[Readers] will savor the pleasures of dialogue as elliptical in its way as Henry James and a retrospective shock when they finally appreciate the import of the tale's unobtrusive opening scene and its sly title." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Donna Leon Author Biography

Photo: Regine Mosiman

Donna Leon is the author of the international best-selling novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, all of which have been critically acclaimed. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon has lived in Venice for over twenty-five years.


Commissario Guido Brunetti series order to 2014

  1. Death at la Fenice, 1992
  2. Death in a Strange Country, 1993
  3. Dressed for Death, 1994, first published as The Anonymous Venetian
  4. A Ventian Reckoning, 1995, first published as Death and Judgement
  5. Acqua Alta, 1996, first published as Death in High Water
  6. Quietly in Their Sleep, 1997, first published as Death of Faith
  7. A Noble Radiance, 1998
  8. Fatal Remedies, 1999
  9. Friends in High Places, 2000
  10. A Sea of Troubles, 2001
  11. Wilful Behaviour, 2002
  12. ...

... Full Biography
Link to Donna Leon's Website

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