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Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

Death at La Fenice (1992)

by Donna Leon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Commissario Brunetti (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,998713,364 (3.6)216
Recently added bydyanny66, private library, KLTMD, Marlane, Katrin78, hvanloon
  1. 10
    The Fallen Angel by David Hewson (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Leon is more atmospherical, more into Italy. In Hewson one finds more action and flashiness.
  2. 01
    Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon (Smiler69)

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» See also 216 mentions

English (56)  Spanish (8)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Quite enjoyable. It started a bit slowly, perhaps, but it features a very likeable detective and a decent, if easy to figure out, plot. I thought it was nicely put together and will read more in the series.

If you enjoy mysteries and you like or are intrigued by Venice, this is a good choice. ( )
  Laura400 | Jul 2, 2014 |
When a renowned conductor dies of cyanide poisoning during the second intermission of La Traviata, the case falls to Commissario Guido Brunetti. In order to find out who killed the conductor and why, Brunetti must dig into his past. Could the motive have something to do with his rumored Nazi party membership during the war? Or maybe his known antipathy to homosexuals? Or something else altogether? In Venice, sometimes who you know is as important as what you know. Brunetti uses connections of family and friends to gather the information he needs to solve the case.

This book differs from many police procedurals since Brunetti spends more time interviewing witnesses and suspects than he does looking at forensic evidence and reading lab reports. In some ways it reads like an Agatha Christie novel dropped into an Italian setting. I enjoyed the musical angle to the plot, and I love the Venetian setting. I look forward to continuing with this series. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jun 29, 2014 |
This is the first book I have read by this author and in this series. It had a surprise ending; takes a lot to surprise me, as I am a veteran mystery reader. I can usually figure things out early in the book. I did guess part of the answer correctly, but not all of it. Clues and plot were very well developed, as were the characters. I liked learning about Brunetti's family too, as it made him seem a well-rounded character and showed all sides of his personality. Excellent read. ( )
  LadyoftheLodge | Jun 4, 2014 |
OK, this was the most refreshingly square and straightforward mystery I've read in a long time.

There was no psychologically tormented detective.
There was no sucker punch of a backstory (largely because there was, amazingly, no backstory at all).
No guns.
No chase scenes.
No insane levels of stress or suspense.
No violence directed at any of the characters (well, except for the murder victim, I guess).

Just one calm, measured interview after another, each revealing one more layer of information, until we arrived, calmly and inevitably, at the conclusion.

NONE of this, I assure you, is meant as criticism. I thoroughly enjoyed the book to the point where I left a couple of other books unfinished while I read this one instead. The characters were well drawn and nicely individualized, the puzzle plotted well, and I loved all the Venetian details.

I will read more in the series, but I will probably save them for when I need something well written and interesting but relatively undemanding. It's good sometimes to be able to enjoy all the pieces coming together without having to go through an emotional wringer to do so.

Plus the way the author has Brunetti describe the teenage disaffection of his son was pretty funny. ( )
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
After having volumes of this series recommended to me over the years by numerous other mystery fans, I finally got around to reading Death at La Fenice, the first volume in the long-running Commissario Guido Brunetti series, for the January 2013 meeting of our libraries' Just Desserts mystery discussion group. I will have to admit, as a mystery fan, I gravitate towards those stories in which the violence happens off-screen, and the settings, and the sleuth's personality and methodology are more important than the plots. In the case of this novel, Leon's descriptions of Venice are beautiful and haunting -- particular a foggy evening in which Brunetti can only find his way through parts of the city purely by memory, since he can't see more than a couple feet in front of him. I found myself fascinated with Brunetti himself -- a good man in a somewhat corrupt police department, forced to moderate his own behavior in order to fit into an environment that is beneath him. The death here, the mysterious killing of an famous opera conductor between acts of his latest production, is a bit thin. And the pacing is quite slow. But if you're looking for a mystery series with atmosphere, and a likeable, engaging protagonist, I highly recommend this series. Long-time fans have noted that as the series progresses, the tone gets much, much darker -- so be forewarned! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny, set in Canada but featuring a sleuth similar in nature and tone to Brunetti.]

Originally reviewed for my local library's website: http://www.lincolnlibraries.org/depts/bookguide/srec/staffrec13-02.htm ( )
  cannellfan | Jul 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donna Leonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Björklund, Ing-BrittTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desmond, William OlivierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elwenspoek, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frogner, ElsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuente, Ana María de laTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geer, LídiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gürdal, SinemTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ilić, BojanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Machado, Luciano VieiraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mejak, TeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Navarro, KoroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olejniczak-Skarsgå… MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patrum, NenadTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roig, EstherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuurman, TitiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith-Hansen, AstaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tandori, DezsőTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vanagienė, JoanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ah, signor, son rea di morte
E la morte io sol vi chiedo;
Il mio fallo tardi vedo;
Con quel ferro un sen ferite
Che non merita pietà.

Ah, sir, I'm guilty to death
And all that I ask is death;
Too late I see my sin;
With your sword pierce this breast
Which merits no pity.

--Così Fan Tutte
For my mother
First words
The third gong, announcing that the opera was about to continue, sounded discreetly through the lobbies and bars of Teatro La Fenice.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006074068X, Paperback)

There is little violent crime in Venice, a serenely beautiful floating city of mystery and magic, history and decay. But the evil that does occasionally rear its head is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane vice-commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable abilities must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world-renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice.

But as the investigation unfolds, a chilling picture slowly begins to take shape—a detailed portrait of revenge painted with vivid strokes of hatred and shocking depravity. And the dilemma for Guido Brunetti will not be finding a murder suspect, but rather narrowing the choices down to one. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:52 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When renowned opera conductor Helmut Wellauer is found dead in his dressing room, the victim of cyanide poisoning, Guido Brunetti, the Vice Commissario of the Venice police, must sift through several suspects.

» see all 3 descriptions

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