BookBrowse Reviews Blood From A Stone by Donna Leon

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Blood From A Stone

A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

by Donna Leon

Blood From A Stone by Donna Leon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 352 pages

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Crime fiction for those willing to grapple with, rather than escape, the uncertainties of daily life

From the book jacket: On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo Santo Stefano. The killings have all the markings of a professional operation but why would anyone kill a vu cumpra (illegal immigrant)? 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. How far will he 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?

Comment: As critical commentary goes, a writer can't ask for much better than the pre-publication reviews for Blood From A Stone - there are four primary pre-publication review sources in the USA (Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist) and all give Blood From A Stone 'starred review' status - something awarded to only a small percentage of the books reviewed each week, which in turn represent just a fraction of the total books published.

One of the many things that I 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). Another thing to like is Leon's ability to sum up a situation, or even an entire race, in a single, almost throwaway, sentence - for example; "the police arrived with a speed that astonished the Italian bystanders as much as it scandalized the Americans".

Bill Ott, writing for Booklist, sums things up neatly commenting that the Commissario Guido Brunetti series is "crime fiction for those willing to grapple with, rather than escape, the uncertainties of daily life."

There are now 15 books in the series which, I believe, have been translated into about 20 different languages. For a number of years USA fans had to rely on imports from England but now the latest books are being published simultaneously in England and the USA, and the earlier books are being re-released.  Her latest, Through A Glass Darkly, was published in hardcover a few weeks ago.

This review was originally published in May 2005, and has been updated for the April 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



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