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Blood from a Stone | [Donna Leon]

Blood from a Stone

On a cold Venetian night, shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares: fake handbags of every designer label. The dead man had been working as a vu cumpra, one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits. Commissario Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: why would anyone kill an illegal immigrant?
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Publisher's Summary

On a cold Venetian night, shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares: fake handbags of every designer label. The dead man had been working as a vu cumpra, one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits.

Commissario Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: why would anyone kill an illegal immigrant? Once Brunetti begins to investigate this unfamiliar Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake. Warned by Patta, his supervisor, to resist further involvement in the case, how far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture of Venice's illegal community?

Death in Venice: investigate more of Guido Brunetti's cases.

©2005 Donna Leon and Diogenes Verlag AG Zurich; (P)2005 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"Stunning." (Publishers Weekly)
"[A] wonderful addition to one of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever." (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (141 )
5 star
 (47)
4 star
 (54)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
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1 star
 (7)
Overall
4.0 (57 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (58 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (24)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 12-11-09
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 12-11-09

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3589
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1493
    397
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1517
    140
    Overall
    "genre surprise"

    At times this was the sterotypical contemporary detective story with corny novel/audiobook devices like Italian accented English (to make us believe we are following "authentic" Venetians in the storyline) and Italian phrases and cuisine thrown in to make us further feel an "exotic" setting -- BUT, overall, it was superior to most in that genre. Superior, that is, if you are looking for a mystery/ detective listen with a reasonable storyline and no graphic sex or violence, as I do. What raises this to a four star listen is 1. the excellent narration and 2. the presentation of a social justice issue (conflict diamonds), well addressed in the guise of fiction without being pedantic.

    These are a novel and author I would never have downloaded had it not been for the free first chapter to capture my interest. I will download more of Leon now, especially since a couple of her well-rated listens are so well-priced.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom 10-01-09
    Tom 10-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    395
    71
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow but entertaining"

    The narrator does such a good job that it is a pleasure to listen to this book. It's well written and one gets a nice sense of Italy. It is slow, and there isn't much action, but I still liked it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Salt Lake City, UT United States 05-08-08
    Susan Salt Lake City, UT United States 05-08-08 Member Since 2005

    slc_reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    189
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    757
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    2
    Overall
    "Wonderful listen"

    Another great book from my favorite mystery author.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-19-14
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-19-14 Member Since 2007

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1410
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1340
    226
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    FOLLOWING
    149
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "PREDICTABLE & DISAPPOINTING"

    This is the 3rd of this series that I've listened to. I enjoyed "Fatal Remedies" and "Doctored Evidence" so much that bought this one before finishing the 2nd one. (NOTE: All of the books in this series are not available in audiobook format. However, each novel stands on its own without much passage of time between them so the reader is able to jump around, even skipping several without much negative impact.).

    This book plods along with usual slow pace that the author seems to embrace, with much "stage business" like describing a person flicking imaginary lint from his or her clothing or the biting the lower lip in a contemplative manner while pondering a question asked. The reader is given indepth descriptions of Venice and the customs and mores of all of its disparate citizens. One can almost smell the canals, the crush of humanity on a hot humid day, or the bouquet of a very excellent wine at a sidewalk cafe. We become one with main character, Commissario Guido Brunetti, and his colleagues at the police department. Several reviewers have complained about the unbelievable amount of time that the author spends on telling us about Brunetti's personal life with his wife and two teenaged children. I agree that it is a bit overdone but somehow doesn't take away from the real story of rampant criminal behaviors in Italy (from common pickpockets to the highest political arenas in the country), the investigation of complex crime plots and, finally, the successful resolution leading to arrests - although not necessarily CONVICTION, since that depends on the socio-economic status of the perpetrator(s). That's seems to be the only reason that Brunetti has a job at all! If not for him, every poor Italian or illegal immigrant charged with murder - especially the Africans - would be lynched in the center of the Venetian version of Times Square ("Tempo Piazza", perchance?) after a very quick, very unfair trial. But I like Commissario Brunetti, Venice, his family, and his intelligent way of solving crimes against very difficult obstacles, including his immediate supervisor. I've learned a lot about the country, and even more about great foods and wines from Brunetti's wife, a fantastic cook. I've even picked up a fair amount of Italian "survival phrases" in just 3 books. Narrator David Colacci is outstanding! He's a master at all of the numerous dialects and accents in Italy, plus France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Senegal, Sierra Leone, etc. - you name it, he can do it! All while reading in English with a decidedly non-regional American accent.

    OK, that's my take on the overall series. As for THIS particular story, I was a bit disappointed. Usually the reader doesn't get the "reveal" until a few chapters from the end and even then, there's another unexpected plot twist. We are normally introduced to the murder within the first 20 minutes of the story. Next, we are "forced" - not in a bad way - to wade through hours of stage business, dozens of reoccurring secondary and non-reoccurring tertiary characters, needless dialogue, food preparation, plating, and devouring, in-depth location descriptions, police investigations (with much MIS-investigations from the higher-ups), Brunetti's illegal and often unethical undercover investigations with his personal team of "Untouchables" - until suddenly we all get the actual crime, why the murder (or murders) had to go down, and whom is responsible. Good stuff!

    Here, the whole tapestry of the plot unravels within the first few paragraphs of the book. Follow me.....this is not a spoiler, just plain common sense that Sherlock Holmes' DOG could deduce: A broad daylight execution of a street vendor in Venice by two swarthy-looking guys recruited from Italy's version of "The Dirty South", i.e., Sicily. They use small caliber revolvers with silencers. The kill is up close, clean, and efficient. The victim is African. Once that tidbit is juxtaposed with the words in the title "blood" and "stone", it doesn't take a rocket scientist - or, in this case, a certified gemologist - to figure out where the story is going. The Mafia wasn't contracted over a bunch of knock-off Louis Vuitton purses! After the first 15 minutes, I was not desperate enough to salivate over the description of thyme-infused grilled skirt steak with creamy polenta and a glass of Badia A Coltibuono to commit an additional 8.5 hours to this book! No, grazie, i miei amici da Audible.com! Arrivederci!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Kikendall FL 06-17-13
    Judith Kikendall FL 06-17-13 Member Since 2013

    I like mysteries and historical fiction

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not that great"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was ok. I had heard great things about Donna Leon's books, and was disappointed.


    What about David Colacci’s performance did you like?

    He did a great job when he changed character voices.


    Do you think Blood from a Stone needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Not really as the original book wasn't that great.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rgsinger 06-04-11
    rgsinger 06-04-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    10
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    Overall
    "Great book!"

    One of her best! Detective Guido Brunetti is someone you'd love to have espresso with!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    09-30-09
    09-30-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    42
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    "Snoozer"

    Can't seem to get stated with this one and have tried twice. Its a snoozer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Lake Linden , MI, USA 08-28-09
    Cynthia Lake Linden , MI, USA 08-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    215
    28
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    0
    0
    Overall
    "mixed reaction"

    The narrator was excellent and the flavor of Venice is great. At times the dialog between the detective and his family was drawn out and canned feeling. Might be ok for a book but too much drag for audiobook.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Char Omaha, NE, United States 08-21-09
    Char Omaha, NE, United States 08-21-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    180
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    372
    31
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    9
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    Overall
    "Incredibly Boring"

    The reader was very good. The book was like watching cement dry. I can't believe there's a whole series of these with centralized character. I almost gave it up 3 or 4 times and decided to make it to the end. Total disappointment and I would not recommend this book or series to anyone. I've never read a more boring murder mystery.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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