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Friends in High Places Hardcover – 6 Apr 2000

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd; 1st Edition edition (6 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434004219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434004218
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,102 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

Amazon Review

Donna Leon's sweetly cynical Venetian cop Brunetti has his principles, but is always prepared to bend them a little, to appeal to his own Friends in High Places. When bureaucrat Rossi starts to investigate whether his apartment in a historic building has any right to exist, he and his wife start to look for leverage;

At no time did it occur to him, as it did not occur to Paola, to approach the matter legally, to find out the names of the proper offices and officials and the proper steps to follow ... Venetians ignored them, knowing that the only way to deal with problems like this was by means of acquaintances, friendships, contacts and debts built up over a lifetime.

When Rossi rings him at his office, seeking help, and is found dead under some scaffolding, Brunetti feels a particular obligation to find out whether he fell, or was thrown. His investigations take him to the heart of corruption, to money lenders and officials and drug dealers and petty thugs, and to solutions and resolutions that are only ever going to be partial. Brunetti is an attractive detective because he has a human preparedness to make compromises and a judicious sense of when it is morally appropriate, and when it is not. And as always in this excellent and popular series, the true protagonist is the city of Venice, its buildings and its weather and its smells. --Roz Kaveney

Review

" 'Crime writing of the highest order' - Guardian. 'Leon's best so far - I don't think I could really understand a crime fan who didn't love Donna Leon' - Scotland on Sunday. 'All Donna Leon's novels are excellent in their evocation of place, while in Brunetti she has created a character who becomes more real in each book - However, Friends in High Places is by far the best and marks a quantum leap forward' - Evening Standard" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the ninth novel in the Commissario Brunetti series. With a title like `Friends in High Places' and a picture of San Marco's campanile on the cover, one immediately deduces that someone may be pushed to their death from the top of the tower. But, oh, I was so wrong! Rather the title refers cryptically to the fact that what's good for one criminal is not necessarily good for another when Brunetti's boss is involved. There are twenty-five chapters and all the way to chapter twenty-two it's not clear (well it's not clear to me) how Brunetti is going to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw together.

There is the usual dry humour poking fun at those worth poking fun at, such as Brunetti's boss, Patta, whose glasses contain only clear lenses and are worn as a fashion statement. And where would Brunetti be without Signora Elettra, who in many ways plays the part of the `deus ex machina', or should that be `dea ex machina'? Leon tries to hide the Signora's crucial role in the plot by concentrating on her charm and her serene goodness, but really Brunetti would not be half as successful with his cases without her divine expertise.

I think a lot of the appeal of Leon's series lies in her ability to convey to readers a slice of the REAL life in Venice, the Venice that we visitors rarely see but which is lived day by day-by-the Venetians themselves. An example in this novel would be when Paola returns laden from the Rialto market complaining about the plague of tourists. Her husband wonders why they are there at all: "Don't they have markets in their own countries?" he asks. Paola replies, "Most of them were tourists, come, as far as I could see, to take pictures of other tourists.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Without a doubt, "Friends in High Places" is Donna Leon's best book in her mesmerizing Commissario Brunetti series. "Friends" is the ninth in this outstanding series and Leon has not failed her fans with this latest edition, which, for some unfathomable reason, is not yet published in the States!
The author is able to capture what very few writers in the mystery genre do-- she creates such memorable characters that the reader actually feels he really knows--and even possibly understands--her creations. Certainly, Leon does to Venice what few other writers do to their settings. It is unbelievable that she is able to understand fully the mechanizations of the modern Venetian. She has weaved her plots so intricately--and plausibly--in her series, which seems short of a miracle for some "outsider"--she's an American!--to be able to grasp the bureaucracies of that system, be it religious, political, social, even the illicit "trade" bureaucracies.
With her unforgettable Brunetti and his family, Leon's themes run throughout her novels: among them the "moral path" which is at odds with what Venetians have come to expect and to accept, it seems. If one has a problem, the solution is to utilize his "friends in high places"--a favor for a favor--to solve it. The corruption seems to permeate all aspects of their lives.
But, of course, first, this is a murder mystery, and here, again, Leon is in top form. How exquisitely she leads the reader through this valley of temptation and evil! Yet, despite the impossible task of ever "cleaning up Venice," Brunetti plods on. He alone, it seems at times, knows right from wrong. He takes refuge and solace from his wife Paola; he loves his two children, and his greatest fear is that something evil might harm them.
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By Anne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 July 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
In Venice corruption is rife so when Brunetti is visited by an official who tells him that because there is no record of his apartment being built it cannot exist therefore it may have to be destroyed he seeks help from people he knows rather than go through the official channels. This is very much the theme of the book - all the way through the story people try to escape the consequences of what they have done or to get their own way by corruption and influence. As the book progressed I began to identify quite strongly with Brunetti's feeling of sadness and also to understand how he has begun to be drawn into the morass himself.

This is one of a series of books about the same characters but you don't necessarily have to have read all of them to understand this one. The story actually centres on the probable murder of the official who first visited Brunetti following a strange telephone call that he makes to the Commissario which indicates that something criminal is happening but which doesn't go into details. As the investigation proceeds it includes incompetence in the hospital system, inept police officers, illicit moneylending, drugs and destitution. Brunetti does his best but we soon realise that he is necessarily limited against the currupt system and his lowly place within it.

I have read a few of this series but this one shines out as a book with real depth. Brunetti is a decent man swallowed up by corruption and fighting endless, unwinnable battles to see justice done. A clever but essentially sad book.
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