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Through a Glass, Darkly by Donna Leon
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Through a Glass, Darkly (2006)

by Donna Leon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Commissario Brunetti (15)

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English (16)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
What begins as an unofficial investigation gradually turns into an official one. The owner of a troubled glass factory on Murano made threats against a woman's husband. It is really uncertain if the owner would carry out such a threat or not, and Brunetti agrees to evaluate the situation. A night watchman for the company is convinced the factory is responsible for his daughter's birth defect because of pollutants. The investigation determines that an aspiring politician who is a neighboring factory owner is rumored to be a possible buyer for the troubled company. Environmental issues are central to this novel, and I probably learned more about pollutants from glass factories than I ever cared to learn. Brunetti, as usual, is a likable sleuth, even if his superior yields too much to the powers that be, possibly bordering on being politically corrupt. One can't go wrong spending a few hours in this Venetian setting with its network of canals. I listened to the audio version of this book read by David Colacci for Blackstone Audio. It was well-done. ( )
  thornton37814 | May 29, 2016 |
During an off-the-books investigation concerning some violent threats made by a prominent Venetian glassmaker, Giovanni De Cal, Commissario Guido Brunetti finds himself immersed in the fascinating world of glass blowing furnaces and enviromental issues. De Cal's son-in-law, who De Cal is sure only married his daughter for De Cal's money, is an engineer who spends his off-work hours protesting businesses that pollute Venice's canal system. A night watchman who works for De Cal is sure that toxic chemicals from the furnace caused his infant daughter to be born with numerous medical issues. When the same night watchman is found dead in De Cal's factory in front of a blazing furnace Brunetti is sure that the man has been murdered. The investigation now becomes official and involves De Cal as well as a rival glassmaker, Fasano, the leader of the glassmaker's union and a man slated to become a prominent politician. Who would have killed the well-liked young night watchman?

This is my first book by Leon and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Apparently Guido Brunetti is the focus of her novels and I may have lost some of the impact since this is not the first of Brunetti's books. I was unfamiliar with the relationships of some of the characters but most of them were sorted out after awhile. The story was fairly slow moving as the murder didn't take place until halfway through but I really enjoyed the glassmaking information and the setting of Venice was very nice. I will definitely read more from this author.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Commissario Brunetti continues to evolve as a crusader investigating where crimes may occurring before an official crime is reported.

This time on the island of Murano at the glass factories, has there been polluting gone unreported which may have caused a chi8ld to be born with severe defects? When the father who has been making such claims is found dead near one of the glass furnaces, Brunetti sets out to undercover the truth. ( )
  cyderry | Sep 11, 2013 |
Commissario Guido Brunetti investigates pollution from one of the glass factories near Venice. As usual corruption is rife and the book could be depressing, but the author's and her protagonist's love for Venice, food and family offer some measure of cheer. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
Although the 15th book in the series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti fighting crime in the Italian city of Venice it is the first one I’ve read. It is chock full of intricate details about life in modern Venice. There are scenes which portray the uniquely Venetian transport chaos of travelling by canal, others which discuss the loss of historic local industries and passages in which Brunetti internally debates how formally to address the people he meets which if not distinctively Italian is at least a particularly European problem. And unlike most other dedicated fictional police officers Brunetti always finds time to eat fabulous meals which is also evocative of Italy (and the reason I don’t recommend you read it when hungry: sheer torture).

Brunetti is the only police officer to be a fully developed character in the book. There’s a superior officer who Brunetti treats as stupid but there’s no real evidence of that stupidity in this book (I assume it’s apparent in one or more of the earlier outings). A couple of Brunetti’s colleagues appear as minor characters but their characters are not particularly well developed. However, as Brunetti doesn’t work the long, hard hours of many of his fictional cohorts he’s got more time to devote to a family so his wife and children are fairly solid characters in the book and his wife in particular is a person I quickly got the feeling I’d like to meet.

As a mystery I have to say this lacks something. There’s a single event that takes place about half way through the book and it’s not until the very last few pages that we find out whether or not it was even a crime. There is a vaguely interesting back story about environmental concerns resulting from Venice’s glass making industry but it’s not really enough to keep a die-hard mystery buff’s eyes glued open. The inclusion of a long passage in which Brunetti and his wife analyse Dante’s Infernoand the way it may, or may not, provide a clue to the case is an example of the largely unrelated content that fills up some of the book.

If you're looking for a fast-paced, page turner this probably isn't for you but if you like thoughtful stories where things other than crime are also important then I’d give it a go. And if you’ve ever been to Venice, or ever wanted to go, then I’d highly recommend you lose yourself in the book for a while: you won’t regret it.
( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donna Leonprimary 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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143038060, Mass Market Paperback)

The latest case in Donna Leon’s bestselling Brunetti mystery series—“one of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever” (The Washington Post)

The Philadelphia Inquirer called Leon’s incomparable creation Commissario Guido Brunetti “the most humane sleuth since Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret.” It’s no wonder then that Leon’s legion of fans continues to grow with each new book that’s published. In Through a Glass, Darkly, Brunetti investigates the murder of a night watchman, whose body is found in front of a blazing furnace at Giovanni De Cal’s glass factory along with an annotated copy of Dante’s Inferno. Did the cantankerous De Cal kill him? Will Brunetti make the connection between the work of literature and the murderer in time?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

After coming to the aid of Vianello's old friend, Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest, Commissario Brunetti becomes concerned about Ribetti's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a nasty factory owner heard making threats against his son-in-law.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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