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Through a Glass, Darkly (2006)

by Donna Leon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Commissario Brunetti (15)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3293410,927 (3.5)62
On a spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced with the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, who has made violent threats against Ribetti. Brunetti's curiousity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? When the body of De Cal's bookish night watchman is found in front of the blazing furnace, he wonders: Could the old man have killed him?… (more)
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» See also 62 mentions

English (24)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
What a bore. As usual with these sorts of writers when they no longer have a plot in them they turn to political-social issues. In this case the relationship between pollution, glass-making and politics in Venice.

It isn't that I totally don't want to read about these things, but if I do, I will not choose to do so via the conduit of a murder-mystery.

So, no plot to speak of, and on top of that, dreadfully proofread. The book is laced with words hyp-henated for no rea-son whatsoever. I'm guessing something was taken out or added and nobody bothered to check the impact on the type-setting. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
What a bore. As usual with these sorts of writers when they no longer have a plot in them they turn to political-social issues. In this case the relationship between pollution, glass-making and politics in Venice.

It isn't that I totally don't want to read about these things, but if I do, I will not choose to do so via the conduit of a murder-mystery.

So, no plot to speak of, and on top of that, dreadfully proofread. The book is laced with words hyp-henated for no rea-son whatsoever. I'm guessing something was taken out or added and nobody bothered to check the impact on the type-setting. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this entry into the Brunetti series. I don't recall one I enjoyed more, as Brunetti tries to help a friend of Vianetto's and gets involved in a pair of Murano glassmakers way before anyone dies. I felt could see the glassmakers at their furnaces, manipulating the hot glass into the beautiful works of art we still associate with that area, as well as the pollution that results from that work. Leon lets us see the tight-knit community of craftsmen, and the beauty of spring in Venice. ( )
  ffortsa | Apr 4, 2020 |
Donna Leon is a marvel. She has created a cast of appealing characters that deliver intelligent solutions to mysteries. You won't get a lot of shoot-em-ups or car chases or flying off cliffs and surviving thousand foot falls. What you will have is well-written, realistic dialogue, and an examination of Italian, or at least Venetian, culture.

The focus in this story begins with Brunetti helping the friend of a colleague who has been arrested at an ecology demonstration protesting workers' exposure at glass factories to harmful chemicals. That morphs into death threats from the owner of a factory and blame one of the workers assigns to those chemicals for the mental disability of his children. We all know a murder is on the horizon and it soon arrives for Brunetti to solve.

All her stories are told through Brunetti's eyes so we get a view of Venetian sprintime, the art of glass-making, as well as his wonderful relationship with Paula and the comic antics of Signorina Elletra as she and Brunetti suffer the foolishness of their superior Vice-Questore Patta, not to mention the food, culture and ambiance of Venice.

Excellent if not the outcome Brunetti would have wished.

( )
  ecw0647 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Commissario Brunetti doesn’t hesitate when his partner, Vianello, asks him for a favor. Vianello is an environmentalist, and one of his environmentalist friends has been arrested at a protest that somehow turned violent. The appearance of the friend’s father-in-law, the owner of a Murano glass factory, adds a further complication. The father-in-law is nearly incoherent with rage, mostly directed at his son-in-law. Brunetti unofficially questions some of the father-in-law's employees and associates to determine whether he’s likely to carry out his threats.

This book is very different from most of the other books in the series. It doesn’t begin with a murder, although there is eventually a death to investigate. It’s more character driven than plot driven. It works at this point in the series because of the character and relationship development throughout the series. I also found the ending more satisfactory than the ending of most of the books up to this point. Instead of being discouraged that the closing of his case will not result in justice for the murderer, Brunetti is elated by the discovery of information that will break the prime suspect’s alibi. ( )
  cbl_tn | Feb 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Even if the path from misdemeanors to monstrous felonies is less inevitable than in Brunetti’s best (Blood from a Stone, 2005), Leon shows once more why she has no serious rivals in the art of unfolding mysteries in which the killer’s identity is the least interesting detail.
added by rretzler | editKirkus Reviews (May 10, 2006)
 
Every character, every line of dialogue, every descriptive passage rings true in a whodunit that's also travel essay, political commentary and existential monologue.
added by rretzler | editPublishers Weekly (pay site) (Mar 13, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leon, Donnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Desmond, William OlivierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuente, Ana María de laTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mauri i Batlle, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scholten, TheoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seibicke, Christa E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skarbińska-Zielin… AlicjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Da qual tremore insolito
Sento assalir gli spiriti!
Dond'escono quei vortici
Do foco pien d'orror?

What strange fear
Assails my spirits!
Where do they come from,
those horrible whirlwinds of flame?
--Don Giovanni Mozart
Dedication
For Cecilia Bartoli
First words
Brunetti stood at his window and flirted with the springtime.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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On a spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced with the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, who has made violent threats against Ribetti. Brunetti's curiousity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? When the body of De Cal's bookish night watchman is found in front of the blazing furnace, he wonders: Could the old man have killed him?

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