Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Death at La Fenice

I ran across a couple of Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti mysteries in the used section of a local bookstore and enjoyed them, so when I came across several more I bought all they had. This one, Death at La Fenice, was written in 1992 and is the first in the series.

from the back of the book:
There is little violent crime in Venice, a serenely beautiful floating city of mystery and magic, history and decay. But the evil that does rear its head on occasion is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane vice-commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable characteristics must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a well-renouned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during intermission at La Fenice. But as the investigation begins to unfold, a chilling picture begins to take shape -a detailed portrait of revenge painted with vivid strokes of hatred and shocking depravity. And the dilemma of Guido Brunetti will not be finding a murder suspect... but, rather, narrowing the choice down to one.
Viktoria at One Sketch a Day reviewed this back in August and called it "a very enjoyable read".

Favorite quote:
Brunetti closed his notebook, in which he had done no more than scribble the American's last name [Lynch], as if to capture the full horror of a word composed of five consonants.
I'm linking this post at Bluebeard and Elizabeth's T Tuesday gathering at the Altered Books blog because many of the conversations in this book take place over coffee or tea. Here's an example from early in the book:
The kettle shot out a burst of steam, and Paola went to pour the water into the chipped pot. As always, he found her mere physical presence comforting, found solace in observing the easy efficiency with which she moved and did things. Like many Venetian women, Paola was fair-skinned and had the red-gold hair so often seen in portraits of the women of the seventeenth century. Not beautiful by any ordinary canon, she had a nose that was a bit too long and a chin that was more than a bit too determined. He liked both.

"Any ideas?" she asked, bringing the pot and two mugs to the table. She sat opposite him, poured out the aromatic tea, then went back to the cupboard and returned with an immense jar of honey.

"It's too early," he said, spooning honey into his mug. He swirled it around, clicking the spoon against the side of the mug, then spoke in rhythm with the clicking of the spoon.
Reviewing the Evidence highly recommends it. Kirkus Reviews closes with this: "Deftly plotted and smoothly written in the Ngaio Marsh cultural mode, but recommended even for readers who, like Brett Lynch, don't care for Verdi."

The other 2 I've read so far:

#3) Dressed for Death
#18) About Face


  1. I read this one not long ago, on your recommendation, and enjoyed it much. I haven´t read any more, but hope I will soon!

    1. I like these. I like the characters and the setting. I have a couple more on my tbr shelf.

  2. I've never read any Donna Leon but her stories sound interesting. Venice and a good mystery, can you go wrong? Did you like the book and should I read it?

    1. Yes, I do like it and plan on reading the entire series. I'd certainly recommend trying one to see if it suits you.

  3. I've never read any Donna Leon but her stories sound interesting. Venice and a good mystery, can you go wrong? Did you like the book and should I read it?