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Acqua Alta (1996)

by Donna Leon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Commissario Brunetti (5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,687407,899 (3.66)126
The Venice commissioner, Guido Brunetti, investigates the murder of a museum director who was involved in the traffic of Chinese antiques. Suspicion falls on a wealthy collector.
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English (31)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
“Don’t keep that appointment with Dottor Seminzato.” Is the message delivered to Dr. Brett Lynch, along with a brutal beating. Commissario Brunetti is given the case. He is familiar with Lynch and the woman she lives with from an earlier case. The relationship between Lynch and Flavia Petrelli, the reigning diva of La Scala, doesn’t bother Brunelli, but it does others.

Shortly Semenzato is found murdered in his home. There appears to be a possible connection between the two victims. Some years back, there was an exhibition of Chinese arntiquities at the Doge’s Palace, arranged by Semenzato. Lynch had arranged for the loan of pieces from China. At some point the pieces returned to China appeared not to be the originals. This has cast a dim light on Semenzato.

While Brunetti is trying to find out who is behind the violence, it is winter in Venice and the season of the Aqua Alta, the season of high tides, heavy rain and flooding. A time where getting around Venice is difficult at best.

Brunetti finds himself exploring the world of Art through contacts in the museum restoration, stolen works and forgeries areas. Bit by bit, putting the pieces together, Brunetting creates the whole picture of what happened and who was involved. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jul 30, 2021 |
This is one of the earlier tales in this series. I was disappointed. Not as much of the family, not as much delicious food, and too much violence. It was a good page turner, but made me anxious unlike most Brunetti. I have always loved the family dynamic and the wonderful culinary description and this was lacking. ( )
1 vote njcur | Feb 26, 2021 |
law-enforcement, murder, murder-investigation, museum, art-fraud, art-theft, artifact, Venice, family-dynamics, friendship*****

Acqua alta is the term used in Veneto for the exceptional tide peaks that occur periodically in the northern Adriatic Sea. Exceptional is right! Add relentless rain to the phenomenon in Venice and you have a situation where the water outside can reach knee level and calf level in the entryways.
Amid this, there is the severe beating of a renowned expert of Chinese pottery artifacts (known from a previous case to Commissario Brunetti) in her own home, and soon thereafter the murder of the director of a prominent local museum. Another convoluted tale of murder in a very unique city and the solid police work (and a little sneaky stuff, too) by the Commissario.
Narrator David Colacci has the trick of using American standard Italian and Sicilian accents to differentiate the multiple male characters down to a science. Bravissimo! ( )
  jetangen4571 | Nov 28, 2020 |
Here is something I really enjoyed about Acqua Alta. The characters from Leon's first Guido Brunetti mystery come back. First introduced in Death at La Fenice, talented opera singer Flavia Petrelli and her lover, archaeologist Brett Lynch, are back five books later, in Acqua Alta. Leon is strategic in how she reintroduces these characters and ties them back to Death at La Fenice. It's as if she reassures the reader Acqua Alta will stand on its own. There is no need to go back and read previous mysteries.
Back to the plot. After Brett is brutally attacked in her apartment, Inspector Brunetti takes on her case. As an American in Venice, Brett seems an unlikely victim of a robbery and yet the attack on her was brutal. It can't be her lifestyle; she and Flavia have been flaunting that for two years now. It can't be her nationality; hundreds of foreigners run away to Venice on a daily basis. Brunetti focuses on her career as an archaeologist and soon a picture of corruption and scandal in the art world emerges.
As an aside, the title of the book comes from the phenomenon called acqua alta, the occasionally flooding of Venice. This happens when there is winter torrential rain, unusually high tides (during a full moon) and wind pushing water up from the Adriadic Sea into the Venetian Lagoon. It is important to understand this weather event because the acqua alta is truly another character in the book and crucial to the plot. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 27, 2020 |
Ms Leone had achieved a new and richer level of character development and story. Even the character of Venice is presented in a richer and subtler way.
A brief incident when Brunetti fears his son is injecting himself with illegal drugs amplifies his humanity.
The reader ends up feeling a deeper familiarity with everyone involved in the book. ( )
  waldhaus1 | Sep 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (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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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
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For Guy Santa Lucia
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Domestic tranquility prevailed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Venice commissioner, Guido Brunetti, investigates the murder of a museum director who was involved in the traffic of Chinese antiques. Suspicion falls on a wealthy collector.

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