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By Its Cover: (Brunetti 23) Hardcover – 3 Apr 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (3 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434023027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434023028
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.3 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The multiple award-winning Leon has lost none of her talent for weaving intrigue, and the atmosphere of Venice is as beguiling as ever." (Living North)

"Leon's command of the baroque Italian thriller is second to none." (Good Book Guide)

"An excellent entry in the Brunetti series … There are few detectives with whom I enjoy spending time more and I must now endure the long wait for Leon’s next book." (2606 Books)

Book Description

The 23rd installment in the brilliant Brunetti series from The Sunday Times bestselling author, Donna Leon.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Book 23, in the Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

Ms. Donna’s latest inspiration comes from the recent real-life thefts from the Girolamini Library in Naples and has finely offered us a tale that includes theft, blackmail, violence and murder. A rare book thief is the target in this latest installment.

This is a thoughtful and leisurely read that emphasizes on the way of life of Venice as much as on the crime, although as a fan since book 1 it is of no surprise to have anticipated this would be the case. Ms. Leon has followed the same formula for years now.

This old fashion detective is well aware of the corruption and class divides in his society and regardless of pressure coming from all corners he will find the truth. As in her previous stories the sense of place is exceptionally strong but lack a little on the investigating techniques. Brunetti meanders around Venice a lot and loves to describe what he sees and eats. In addition to the usual cast of characters in Brunetti's professional and private life, there are staff members at the library, a shadowy ex-priest who has been using the library as a refuge and reading room, and other temporary and permanent citizens of Venice. The book is just the right length to carry the story but short enough not to be taxing our endurance although it does leave loose ends and finishes too abruptly for my taste. The narrative is lively and is sharply written in a serene tone, the style is more intellectual and literary than some of the previous installments, and this is one improvement I appreciated the most.

“By its Cover”, is the standard Leon’s with these exceptions: less family interaction and description of food. This is a good and fast read.
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A library in Venice loses some valuable rare books and others in its collection are vandalised. Brunetti is assigned to the case even though he believes it would be better dealt with by a specialist unit. It soon becomes clear that one of the scholars who has been using the library on a regular basis is not who he seems to be and when one of the other readers is found murdered the stakes become higher than even Brunetti suspected.

I enjoyed this subtle and understated story which is far more in the vein of earlier Brunetti stories. While there are asides about environmental issues these do not dominate the story as recent episodes in this series have to done to their detriment, in my opinion.

Here are all the favourite series characters including Paola, Guido Brunetti’s forthright wife, his aristocratic in-laws and his police colleagues – Patta, Vianello and the inimitable Elettra with her mastery of all things computerised. Venice is, as ever, almost a character in the story providing an atmospheric background to theft and murder.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After a couple of disappointing outings, we are back with vintage Brunetti, still ably supported by Inspector Vianello and Signorina Elettra. We don't meet the in-laws very much, and the children practically not at all, but we do get an interesting array of variously confused, disappointed, and frankly criminal people. The crime wave this time is the theft and desecration of valuable books. The problems are why would someone do this? who would do it? and, as Brunetti is fond of asking, cui bono - who profits?.
I read it in a single sitting and was really taken aback when I reached the somewhat abrupt end. However - welcome back, Dottore Brunetti and even more so Dottoressa Leon.
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By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
When the Chief Librarian of the Biblioteca Merula in Venice discovers that someone has been vandalising their collection of rare antiquarian books, Commissario Guido Brunetti is called in to investigate. At first it looks like an art theft - illustrated pages have been cut from the books and Brunetti soon learns that there is a market for these amongst unscrupulous but fanatical collectors. It seems obvious who the guilty party is - a man masquerading as an American academic, who has now disappeared. But as Brunetti tries to track him, the case takes an altogether darker turn when another regular user of the library is brutally murdered.

Although this is the 23rd in the series, it's the first of the Brunetti novels that I've read. I found it a thoughtful and rather leisurely read with the emphasis as much on describing the way of life in Venice as on the crime, and this came as a very pleasant change from so many of the current crime novels with their emphasis on violence, grittiness and action. Brunetti is something of an old-fashioned detective, an upright moral man (no drink problem, no maverick tendencies, happy family life - yay!) with a meditative mind. He is well aware of the corruption and class divides in his society, but seeks to get to the truth regardless of any political pressure that may be put on him. His relationship with his wife comes across as very authentic, while her more aristocratic background allows him access to the upper echelons of society in a way that wouldn't be possible for an 'ordinary' policeman.

The Venetian society Leon portrays seems to be stuck back in the days when birth was even more important than money and where forelocks are still expected to be tugged on a regular basis.
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