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Drawing Conclusions: (Brunetti 20) Paperback – 1 Mar 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099559765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099559764
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

"[Leon's] portrait of Venice and modern Italy is, as always, captivating...The lively conversations between...characters, displaying Leon's sly humour, are a delight." (Evening Standard)

"With characteristic skill, Leon draws together multiple threads and a well-rounded cast ... With the steady, unsentimental style that has become her signature, Donna Leon keeps us hesitating until the last corner is turned." (Times Literary Supplement)

"Leon's clear-eyed descriptions of Venice still make you long to return to the calles and campos of the floating city." (Sunday Telegraph)

"More elegant, understated crime fighting from the mistress of La Serinissima...A welcome return to the comfortable characters and locations that her fans have come to love." (Independent)

"[Leon] is a master at weaselling her way into the venal byways of human selfishness and laying them bare. ... There's a quietness to the crimes here that is more powerful than outlandish violence, and which points to the philosophical bedrock from which Leon so effectively works." (Scottish Sunday Herald)

Book Description

Celebrated by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers, Donna Leon brings us the twentieth Commissario Brunetti detective novel in this gripping Venice based crime series.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A. McGuire on 23 April 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An old woman is found dead; it appears to be natural causes - a heart attack; except there are a few marks on the corpse which aren't absolutely consonant with that verdict. Brunetti can't ignore them, and is led into an investigation which leads to a dreadful evil behind the death.
If you want thrills and fast action, look elsewhere. To do that, though, would be a shame, because the way Leon tells the story exactly parallels the nature of the crime and the evil: they're hidden things, things society would sooner ignore, things which require careful vision to see.
So the investigation unfolds gently, slowly and not always obviously; yet always inexorably, until we are brought, with Brunetti, to the truth, and the central evil of the book.
It would be a shame if a writer of Donna Leon's class were condemned to write variations on a theme, as so many crime writers do. Each of her books has a different register; she is ready to try new ways of writing and unfolding a plot. And that means, inevitably, that not every one of her fans will like each book. Yet, to me at least, this one is a gem: understated but vital, and never after effect for the sake of effect. So what if Patta et al take a back seat? That's what this story requires, so that's how Leon writes it.
Ignore the nay-sayers and see for yourself...
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 April 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The basic story of this book, an elderly woman found dead, is it an accident or is it murder, provides a back-drop for the author to explore morality issues of Italian life: mainly corruption and exploitation of women from Eastern Europe.

I'm surprised that some reviewers have felt that this book was not as good as previous Donna Leon novels. I thought it was up to her usual high standard. I don't read her Commissario Brunetti books for the detective element, more for the atmosphere of Venice and Italian life: both good and bad. She has created a range of well-rounded characters whose lives I enjoy following in the series. Brunetti is unusual in detective fiction that he's basically a happy man, with a stable family life, who doesn't drink to excess or smoke endless cigarettes, and who gets on well with his assistant, Vianello and is thus a welcome contrast to the almost universal character clichés of other detective series. A favourite character for me is Signorina Electra and her amazing computer hacking skills and her dead-pan approach to her pompous and lazy boss, Vice-Questore, Patta.
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful By bookelephant on 10 April 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I begin to wonder whether Donna Leon has exhausted her interest in Brunetti and the world she has created for him. I almost felt at points in the book that she was simply rushing through to get the book out to schedule. Like a previous reviewer I felt the nods to Brunetti's world almost perfunctory: Elletra, Vianello, Paola and the children all make their due appearances doing something characteristic, but they do not develop at all as personalities (which is a sadness for all long term readers, and I felt particularly an opportunity missed with Chiara and Rafi - I mean really, isn't there always something new with teenagers?). Personally I missed most the descriptions of Paola's cooking - I always linger over the pages which describe her dishing up, and them enjoying her beautiful seasonal recipes - this time a couple of lines tell us what the family has, and you can go away and look it up in a cookbook if you want more. Mean, I call it!
But to the detective aspect of the book, which is what we are all theoretically there for - how about that? Well, agaiin I felt that Donna Leon was slightly bored by the format. Yes, we get a mystery - an elderly lady is found dead. It could be a heart attack but there are some indications which suggest violence which may have precipitated the heart attack. The son is well in with Patta, but behaves mysteriously, the finder of the body may have links to the Mafia, the spare bedroom of the flat is plain odd. We get a resolution, of course, but it is frankly not very satisfactory qua detective fiction resolution - and the red herrings are not enjoyably played out along the way - just floated and dropped.
Where Leon seems more to be going is a slightly downbeat state of the nation review.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By cookingapple on 12 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is just not up to Ms Leon's usual standard. It seems like an outline of a novel. There are too many irrelevant episodes: the family is wheeled in to show it is still there; Scarpa makes a brif appearence to no purpose; Brunnetti's walks a through Venice have all the interst of a street directory and are no substitute for atmosphere.There is no real depth of character drawing. A murder mystery without any tension or pace and too much reliance on hazy memories of past events and computer bank records. The plot seems far-fetched and very unlikely. There is no action - physical or mental. I was uninvolved in it all and now cannot recall any incidents or characters. Donna Leon needs to take a rest and recharge her batteries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An elderly lady is found dead in her apartment by a neighbour. She had a heart condition and the death could have been natural causes. Brunetti is not convinced - something doesn't add up. Patta - his boss- is as ever more concerned about his own standing in Venice. At first he wants Brunetti to investigate because the vet who treated his son's dog is the dead woman's son. But then Patta changes his mind and decides that because it seems like natural causes Brunetti should drop the case.

As ever Brunetti goes his own way with the help of Signorina Elettra's superior computer skills and network of contacts. This is an intriguing story with more beneath the surface than is revealed overtly to the reader. Conversations are allusive and elliptical. People's behaviour has many layers and many different motivations. The dead woman is revealed to be a person of honesty and integrity - why would anyone want her dead?

I enjoyed reading this episode in the author's Guido Brunetti series. Her writing style is unobtrusive and does not get in the way of the story. Venice in all its glory and squalor comes alive on the page. Everything has to be achieved in a roundabout way and nothing is exactly as it seems. The characters are well drawn and believable - even the minor ones. It was nice to see a bit more of Brunetti's family life too.
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