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A Venetian Reckoning (1995)

by Donna Leon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Commissario Brunetti (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,475519,602 (3.69)111
A truck crashes and spills its dangerous cargo on a treacherous road in the Italian Dolomite mountains. Meanwhile, in Santa Lucia, a prominent international lawyer is found dead aboard an intercity train. Suspecting a connection between the two tragedies, Brunetti digs deep for an answer, stumbling upon a seedy Venetian bar that holds the key to a crime network that reaches far beyond the laguna.… (more)
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» See also 111 mentions

English (39)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Catalan (2)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Brunetti and the Traffickers
Review of the Grove Press paperback edition (April 2014) of the original Harper Collins hardcover (June 1995)

This one was disturbing and its brutal segments did not bear looking at, so TW.

Brunetti is drawn into the horrors of human trafficking, prostitution and worse in this slowly building investigation. The cold open is away from Venice entirely and is a matter of fact record of a trucking accident where a human cargo is discovered. Brunetti is called in when a lawyer is murdered on a train in what is, at first, suspected to be a robbery. Gradually more complications and doubts arise as a suspicious widow, a questionable accountant, and a duplicitous lawyer are interviewed. Brunetti's daughter Chiara is drawn into the case due to her familiarity with the murdered lawyer's daughter, but is horrified by her discoveries.

See image at http://www.fictionalcities.co.uk/brunettitv1.jpg
Front entrance of the Questura (Police Headquarters) in Venice, Italy [actually the former convent of San Francesco della Vigna] in a film still from the German television adaptation of "Death and Judgment" (2000). Image sourced from Fictional Cities.

Trivia and Links
There is a really fascinating interview with author Donna Leon at ItalianMysteries.Com even if it was done 18 years ago. She discusses all sorts of background to the books and characters and also gives the reason that she won't allow the books to be translated into Italian (and it wasn't because she feared criticism by her neighbours in Venice).

Although it was the 4th book, Death and Judgement was filmed as the 1st episode "Vendetta" (2000) of the German language TV series (2000-2019) based on the Donna Leon / Commissario Brunetti series. There is an extended series of clips from the episode with actor Joachim Król as Commissario Brunetti and actor Michael Degen as Vice-Questore Patta on YouTube here (in German language, but you can turn on auto-translate for various languages including English).

An English language summary of the German language Commissario Brunetti TV series is available at Fictional Cities (Spoilers Obviously). As explained in the above interview, the TV-series was a German production as the books took off in popularity the most in the German speaking countries of Europe as Leon's publishing agent was Swiss-German and knew that market the best. ( )
  alanteder | Oct 19, 2021 |
It started with a deadly trucking accident in a sudden snow storm, in the mountains in the Italy-Austria border. The driver lost control on the curves and the truck left the road. The cargo was listed as pine boards, but what was found were women.

Next up, was the murdered body of well-known international law, Avvocato Carlo Trevisian, on his return train from his weekly meeting with a business associate. Brunetti is given this case, as he is just closing up his last case. Trevisian is a high profile person, and the Mayor wants immediate results.

Brunetti understands the mayor’s want, but he doesn’t jump on assumptions. He is a native of Venice and knows there are many intricacies to life in Venice — layers hiding layers. To get to the real truth, the layers must be peeled back one by one.

I enjoy the Brunetti series. It isn’t a slam-bang tale. People, behaviours, and situations all need to be looked at and considered. A little bit of mental exercise is needed. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jul 30, 2021 |
Dark and sad....Brunetti's daughter figures into this story in a very sad way, shows the evil of some humans. ( )
  almin | May 30, 2021 |
Digital audiobook narrated by David Colacci
3.5***

Book # 4 in the Commissario Brunetti mystery series, set in Venice, Italy. This case starts with a tractor trailer catching fire, destroying the cargo, which includes foreign women. Then three prominent businessmen are murdered. And Brunetti’s investigation leads him to an organized group of sexual traffickers.

This was definitely one of the darker works in this series. As usual, the Commissario relies on his wife for advice and comfort, but his daughter insists on helping and that gets uncomfortable very quickly. I love the atmosphere of these novels, but the seedy underbelly of Venice depicted here made me disinclined to ever want to visit.

Leon crafts a good mystery, with enough clues keep the action moving forward and a logical solution. She also does a great job of putting the reader right into the setting. And I love the scenes of Brunetti at home, which make him so much more human and fallible and approachable. It’s a series I’ll continue reading.

David Colacci does a great job of performing the audiobook. He sets a good pace and I love the voice he gives these characters. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leon, Donnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Björklund, Ing-BrittTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elwenspoek, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuente, Ana María de laTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
Questo è il fin de chi fa mal!
E de' perfidi la morte
alla vita è sempre ugual.

This is the end of evildoers.
The death of the perfidious
Is always the same as their lives.
Don Giovanni
Mozart/DaPonte
Dedication
For Toni Sepeda and Craig Manley
First words
On the last Tuesday in September, snow fell for the first time in the mountains separating northern Italy from Austria, more than a month before it could ordinarily be expected.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Published as both A Venetian Reckoning and Death and Judgment.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

A truck crashes and spills its dangerous cargo on a treacherous road in the Italian Dolomite mountains. Meanwhile, in Santa Lucia, a prominent international lawyer is found dead aboard an intercity train. Suspecting a connection between the two tragedies, Brunetti digs deep for an answer, stumbling upon a seedy Venetian bar that holds the key to a crime network that reaches far beyond the laguna.

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Book description
Guido Brunetti of the Venice police is investigating the death of a prominent lawyer when an accountant turns up dead of a drug overdose. Brunetti believes the two are linked, but evidence is scarce until he pieces together information on an international network of prostitution and extortion.
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