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Donna Leon's first novel, introducing Commissario Brunetti...
Donna Leon was named by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers. She is an award-winning crime novelist, celebrated for the bestselling Brunetti series. Donna has lived in Venice for thirty years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, where she worked as a teacher. Donna's books have been translated into 35 languages and have been published around the world. Her previous novels featuring Commissario Brunetti have all been highly acclaimed; including Friends in High Places, which won the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, Fatal Remedies, Doctored Evidence, A Sea of Troubles and Beastly Things.
If your taste is for contemporary fiction set in Italy, here are some irresistible novels: Italian Fever by Valerie Martin (Vintage. 2000. ISBN 0-375-70522-8. pap. $12) and Francesca Marciano's Casa Rossa (Vintage. 2003. ISBN 0-375-72637-3. pap. $14). And you certainly won't want to go to Italy, especially Venice, without bringing a few Donna Leon mysteries featuring Commissario Brunetti, whose love of good food and despair about corruption in Italian politics play prominent roles in every book. Two favorites are A Noble Radiance (Penguin. 2003. ISBN 0-14-200319-0. pap. $6.99) and Death at La Fenice (HarperTorch. 1995. ISBN 0-06-104337-0. pap. $6.99). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A breathless beginning and an unexpected lack of reference to the lush setting mark this lively launch of a projected series of Venetian mysteries. When legendary German conductor Helmut Wellauer is found dead in his dressing room two acts into a performance of La Traviata , police commissario Guido Brunetti is called in. Among those who might have provided the cyanide poison that killed the maestro, immediate suspects include the vaunted conductor's coolly indifferent young wife and those many in the music industry who are offended by his homophobia. Methodically probing into the victim's past, Brunetti also uncovers Wellauer's Nazi sympathies and a lead to a trio of singing sisters from yesteryear--one now destitute, one dead and the other missing. Though burdened by a dictatorial superior and two lumpen subordinates, Brunetti gets help from his aristocratic wife and her well-connected parents. The narrative's best moments involve Brunetti's wry exchanges with his colleagues and the cunningly masked, obvious solution. (July)
"Praise for Through A Glass, Darkly: Venetian life, and Brunetti's model marriage, are as entertaining as the working out of the whodunit. A joy from start to finish." * Evening Standard * "'One of Venice's greatest contemporary chroniclers... The smells, flavours, sights and sounds all come flooding to life. Even though the first crime doesn't happen until well over halfway through, but this doesn't dampen its page-turning appeal... Once again, Leon has her finger on the pulse.'" -- Henry Sutton * Daily Mirror * "Operatic brilliance... Donna Leon appears to have the knack of keeping her Venice-set Brunetti books as fresh as paint. Through A Glass, Darkly, like all her work, has the exuberance of a Puccini opera." * Independent * "A wholly absorbing read." * Sunday Telegraph * "Praise for Blood From A Stone: 'The fabulous Donna Leon' Antonia Fraser in the Spectator"