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Acqua Alta (1997)

by Donna Leon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Commissario Brunetti (05)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,878488,882 (3.7)135
Fiction. Mystery. HTML:"A dramatic and deeply satisfying climax . . . a high-stakes mystery in which the setting vibrates with as much life as the story itself." ??Publishers Weekly

As Venice braces for a winter tempest, intrepid Italian sleuth Commissario Guido Brunetti finds out that an archaeologist and old friend has been savagely beaten at the palazzo home of opera singer Flavia Petrelli.

Then, as the floodwaters rise, the corpse of a museum director is discovered??and Brunetti must wade through the chaotic city to solve his deadliest case yet.

"An evocative peep into the dark underworld of the beauteous city." ??Time Out London

"A superb police detective." ??Library Journal

Also published under the title Death in
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» See also 135 mentions

English (37)  Spanish (4)  German (4)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
This is the first book I've read by this author and, yes, it's the 5th in a long series with this particular character. The main character is Commissario Guido Brunetti. The book takes place in Venice and the Commissario has to investigate the brutal beating of an American architect, who is also his friend. Then a man's body is found and the Commissario has to find out how these two incidences are linked. The entire time his investigation is taking place, an event that the book is named after, Acqua Alta, is occurring.

Acqua alta is a natural phenomenon that has occurred for centuries when especially high tides caused by the moon's gravitational pull coincide with a strong scirocco, a warm wind blowing across the Mediterranean that forces water from the Adriatic into the Venetian lagoon (https://www.fodors.com/news/venices-acqua-alta-6194) ( )
  Cathie_Dyer | Feb 29, 2024 |
Aqua Alta by Donna Leon

This early novel in Donna Leon’s .Comissario Brunetti series has been on my tbr list for a long time and a recent reprint allowed me to read it. It was worth the wait. We meet again characters from the first book in the series, 'Death at La Fenice.' Brett Lynch, Art historian and an expert in Chinese artefacts is brutally attacked in the home of her lover, opera singer Flavia Petrelli. While investigating this Brunetti is drawn into the murky world of antiques dealing and fraud.

The plot is quite complex and as usual the detective is hampered by Venetian bureaucracy and corruption in high places. The story takes place against the background of the Aqua Alta or ‘high water’, that period in the Venetian winter when both residents and tourists are having to combat flooding and heavy rain. This adds immeasurably to the atmosphere and is a significant factor in the finale.
Meanwhile Brunetti is also having to deal with a variety of problems at home including his wife’s depression over her unresponsive University students.

This story in the Brunetti chronicles has stayed with me, partly I think because the female characters are so strongly written and also because the Aqua Alta is used by the author in such a clever and memorable way.
  Maura49 | Jul 12, 2023 |
It's amazing how well Donna Leon conveys the viewpoint and preoccupations peculiar to Venice: this time, winter weather and high water mean that people are mostly wet a lot of the time, and can never stop thinking about how to safely navigate a city that is flooded -- not just the water in the houses, but wading out in rubber boots and standing in calf-deep water at the local bar to drink your espresso. (No wonder the northern Italians like it with a shot of grappa.) When Brunetti meets other first responders at the scene of a murder, they exchange notes about where the water is too deep for wading, or where the city has (or has yet to) put up boardwalks. The encroaching uncertainty of Acqua Alta colours the whole book and lends horror and suspense to the denouement. ( )
  muumi | May 22, 2023 |
3.5 stars ( )
  dmurfgal | Dec 9, 2022 |
This installment of the series ties back to the very first novel of the series by re-introducing us back with Brett and Flavia Petrelli. You do not need to have read the first novel but if you had not, you will get some spoilers here. This time it is Brett who gets in trouble - someone shows up at the door and before she realizes what is happening, she is badly beaten with a message being delivered to her: skip your meeting with the museum director. Considering that she had been instrumental in bringing a Chinese exhibition to Venice and there had been some issues with some of the returned artifacts, it is not too hard to figure out that this may be related. The novel ends up tying together a tale of art, forgeries and stolen artifacts with a tale of Venice at its worst - when the acqua alta comes and covers the low floors. As is usual, the criminal action almost takes a back seat to the story about Venice - but even the crime is so Venetian than it just can not happen anywhere else. ( )
  AnnieMod | Aug 24, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leon, Donnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Björklund, Ing-BrittTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desmond, William OlivierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elwenspoek, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fedyszak, MarekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frydenlund, John ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuente, Ana María de laTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hızkan, DidemTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mejak, TeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patrun, NenadTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ram, TitiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosich, MarcTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith-Hansen, AstaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Жукова, Ю.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
Dalla sua pace la mia dipende,
quel che a lei piace vita mi rende,
quel che le incresce morte mi dà.
S'ella sospira, sospiro anch'io
è mia quell'ira, quel pianto è mio
e non ho bene s'ella non l'ha


My peace depends upon hers:
what pleases her gives me life,
that which pains her gives me death.
If she sighs, I will sigh as well,
her anger and her sorrows are mine
and I have no joy unless she shares it.
--Mozart, Don Giovanni
Dedication
For Guy Santa Lucia
First words
Domestic tranquility prevailed.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Dalla sua pace la mia depende,
quel che a lei piace vita mi rende,
quel che le incresce morte mi dà.
S'ella sospira, sospiro anch'io,
è mia quell'ira, quel pianto è mio
e non ho bene s'ella non l'ha.
Mijn rust is afhankelijk van die van haar:
wat haar genot verschaft, geeft mij leven,
wat haar kwelt, veroorzaakt mijn dood.
Als zij zucht, zucht ik ook,
haar woede en zorgen zijn die van mij
en ik ken geen genot als zij dat niet met me deelt.
 
Don Giovanni
Mozart
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Fiction. Mystery. HTML:"A dramatic and deeply satisfying climax . . . a high-stakes mystery in which the setting vibrates with as much life as the story itself." ??Publishers Weekly

As Venice braces for a winter tempest, intrepid Italian sleuth Commissario Guido Brunetti finds out that an archaeologist and old friend has been savagely beaten at the palazzo home of opera singer Flavia Petrelli.

Then, as the floodwaters rise, the corpse of a museum director is discovered??and Brunetti must wade through the chaotic city to solve his deadliest case yet.

"An evocative peep into the dark underworld of the beauteous city." ??Time Out London

"A superb police detective." ??Library Journal

Also published under the title Death in

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