Dressed for Death (or The Anonymous Venetian) (1994) is the 3rd book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon. I picked up a couple from this series when I came across them in the used book section of my local book store. I enjoyed this one and will buy more as I find them.
from the back of the book:
Commissario Guido Brunetti's hopes for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera -a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. Then he receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information. And before the night is out Brunetti is confronting yet another appalling, and apparently senseless, death.favorite quotes:
The city had grown old, but Brunetti loved the sorrows of her changing face....
One of the secrets Paola and Brunetti never revealed to anyone was their decades-long search for the ugliest Christ child in western art. At the moment, the title was held by a particularly bilious infant in room thirteen of the Pinacoteca di Siena. Although the baby in front of Brunetti was clearly no beauty, Siena's title was not at risk....
Beauty changed nothing, he knew, and perhaps the comfort it offered was no more than illusion, but still he welcomed that illusion.
Kirkus Reviews closes with this: "One of the most appealing of recent detectives, Brunetti stars in a case that brings out his canniness and his compassion--and shows his creator spreading her wings more powerfully than ever." Reviewing the Evidence says,
Guido Brunetti is a character who is always welcome at my reading table. He is a devoted family man. Unlike many cops, he is always civilized and has an intuitive sense of how to comfort or interrogate those he meets during his investigations. He is sensitive and serious but exhibits a fine sense of humor as well, especially when interacting with his wife, Paola.... Leon does an exceptional job of portraying Venice, its glory and its warts, as well as the complicated politics of the time.