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Beastly Things: (Brunetti 21) (Commissario Brunetti) [Kindle Edition]

Donna Leon
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When a body is found floating in a canal, strangely disfigured and with multiple stab wounds, Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate and is convinced he recognises the man from somewhere. However, with no identification except for the distinctive shoes the man was wearing, and no reports of people missing from the Venice area, the case cannot progress.

Brunetti soon realises why he remembers the dead man, and asks Signorina Elettra if she can help him find footage of a farmers' protest the previous autumn. But what was his involvement with the protest, and what does it have to do with his murder? Acting on the fragile lead, Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello set out to uncover the man's identity. Their investigation eventually takes them to a slaughterhouse on the mainland, where they discover the origin of the crime, and the world of blackmail and corruption that surrounds it.

Both a gripping case and a harrowing exploration of the dark side of Italy's meat industry, Donna Leon's latest novel is a compelling addition to the Brunetti series.

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"The superb reader, Andrew Sachs, has become the voice of Brunetti: intelligent, thoughtful, weary and worldly wise. When the policeman relaxes at night, we can almost taste the cold Pinot Grigio that he sips on his balcony, and when he pays a visit to the sickening, stinking, blood-boltered horrors of the slaughterhouse, we are led right down into the seventh circle of Dante's Hell." (Sue Gaisford The Independent on Sunday)

"A gripping narrative read by Andrew Sachs." (Choice Magazine)

Book Description

Number 21 in the Commissario Brunetti series from Donna Leon, the Sunday Times bestselling author of Drawing Conclusions

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 692 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (5 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,812 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Donna Leon has lived in Venice for many years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, where she worked as a teacher. 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, Through A Glass, Darkly, Suffer the Little Children, The Girl of His Dreams, and most recently, About Face.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"Beastly Things" is another well-written episode of the Commissario Guido Brunetti series, albeit one that seems even darker and more contemplative than usual. For me, this story transcended the crime genre into something more like an insightful, psychological novel.

We have to assume that author Donna Leon uses her wonderfully sketched protagonist, Brunetti, to voice her own concerns about social and political issues that plague his (and her) Italian home of Venice; and those concerns have multiplied over the years as traditional woes with corruption in politics have been added to by the plight of immigrants in Italy, the trafficking in women and children, rampant polluting and pollution and myriad other forms of criminal behavior that generally are based in the sins well-described by Leon's early predecessor Dante.

"Beastly Things" opens with the murder of a local veterinarian. The investigation that follows uncovers something far more sinister, something that threatens the population at large. This crime vs. general threat is deftly--even brilliantly--handled by Leon as she describes the reactions of bystanders to details of the two kinds of crime. To be sure the author's outrage, as expressed through Brunetti, is appropriately great and expanding as the case moves toward its resolution. Greed is at the bottom of all of it, and Brunetti is allowed some powerful feelings that cause him to cut ethical corners in order to punish the perpetrators.

Built into this novel--and a few others in the series--is the basic question of what measures can be taken by decent people of authority to combat pervasive corruption, venality and criminality that is protected or indulged by people of even higher authority.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just a bit to beef about... 3 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a regular visitor to Venice I must confess a weakness for Donna Leon's detective fiction. This, her latest, set in the city with her faithful detective, Brunetti, has many pleasing vignettes about the problems of coping with local bureaucracy and the endless strands of Government that costs billions without ever seeming to stamp down on corruption and environmental menace that has become ever more prevalent throughout Italy.

In this novel Leon, a committed vegetarian, takes a look at what health hazards are occurring in a mainland abattoir, the slaughterhouse on Venice having closed some years ago, and the mysterious death of a veterinary surgeon who worked there. Leon knows her Venice as one would expect from a long time resident in the City but unfortunately her plots are becoming simplistic to say the least.

The usual characters are all here: Patta, Brunetti's lazy and time serving boss whose work ethic is simply not to rock the boat with the City's power brokers and therefore remain in office; Paola, Brunetti's intellectual, liberal, university lecturer wife- most likely a meat eating edition of Leon herself- and Signorina Elettra, the beautiful and brilliant secretary to Patta who is capable of hacking into computers everywhere and, when she cannot, finding previously unmentioned friends who can render a service.

So whenever Brunetti, or indeed Leon, gets stuck a quick trip upstairs to the flower filled office of the fragrant Elettra is all that is required to get crime solving on the move again. As Leon churns out a new Brunetti every two years or so I have noticed an increasing reliance of Elettra and plots become ever less involved as the years have passed.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Would They Do Without Signorina Elettra? 3 April 2012
By takingadayoff TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I always learn something while reading Donna Leon's mysteries. For instance, although I'd seen the vu compra, the African immigrant street vendors, in Venice, I didn't know anything about them until I read Blood From A Stone (2005).

In this latest Commissario Brunetti mystery, Beastly Things, we learn about slaughterhouses and the meat processing industry. A visit to the slaughterhouse leaves even toughened cops Brunetti and Inspector Vianello speechless. And while they don't actually skip lunch afterward, they both opt for vegetarian sandwiches.

Beastly Things doesn't stand out among Leon's mysteries, but it is a dependable police procedural that keeps the murder in the forefront throughout. Some of her recent books have concentrated more on issues of the day rather than the mystery.

Of interest apart from the case itself were some apparent doubts expressed by Vianello and Brunetti as they once again turned to the Questura's (police headquarters) secretary, Signorina Elettra, to hack into databases they have no legal right to access. They wonder if they rely too much on Elettra's technical wizardry. Leon herself might have been asking the question of herself, at least as it regards the solutions to many of her mysteries, which often rely on Signorina Elettra's unofficial discoveries. Even as a reader, I wonder if I would be as amused if the unpleasant Lieutenant Scarpa or if Brunetti himself were doing the hacking? Elettra is such an engaging character that I look forward to her hacking exploits.

It's no coincidence that Leon has Brunetti's English professor wife, Paola, tussling with an ethical dilemma of her own. Not surprisingly, Paola comes to a decision that will allow her to sleep at night. Brunetti, once again forced to choose between doing the right thing and the legal thing, doesn't have that luxury.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great plot and a brilliant read, as always
Published 2 months ago by Geraldine M Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Donna Leon is my favorite Author. and Venice is the best city I ...
Donna Leon is my favorite Author. and Venice is the best city I have been able to visit several times.
Published 2 months ago by D. Gallagher
5.0 out of 5 stars Greed and deceit
A body is found in Venice and it takes some time for Brunetti to descover the identity of the corpse. Read more
Published 5 months ago by maggierb
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story.
Published 5 months ago by Ida Ornstein
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good condition another great story
Published 5 months ago by sandra b
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of the best. I have read all but the last two ...
Not one of the best. I have read all but the last two books in the series, and having had a break from Brunetti (to read the Matthew Scudder series) I found the plot quite simple... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nightowl
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Donna Leon always a good read.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs E T ESPLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Donna Leon never lets you down
Published 6 months ago by Cecile Gallina
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great Brunetti story.
Published 6 months ago by Alan Robertson
2.0 out of 5 stars No Mystery Within
As always Donna Leon manages to evoke the spirit of Venice and it always pleasurable to delve into the life of Commissario Brunetti but there is no real mystery to be solved. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Karen
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