©1994 Donna Leon; (P)2009 BBC Audio
Author Donna Leon and narrator David Colacci area a marvelous duo. Leon's books are literary mysteries. They aren't blood and guts and violence (well, there is some) and they aren't page turners. Leon brings you into the Italian culture as she weaves a nice mystery. The narrator is superb.
I havent read the whole series, nor have I read them in order, but this one definitely kept my attention better than the others I have heard.
Commissario Guido is called to a crime scene where the body of what appears to be a transvestite prostitute. However, something doesn't seem quite right to the Commissario and he refuses to just write the crime off because of the type of victim. Besides, the corpse has a body much like Guido's own and he doubts this is a figure people would pay for.
From the undercover world of the gay and transvestite scene in Venice to the seedy and even more covert world of Italian finance Guido must ferret out the truth while staying alive and thwarting very powerful men.
Honestly, the ways in which the characters have to confront ideas of italian masculinity in this maybe what amused me the most. However, it does have a good amount of action as well.
The vivid depiction of Venice.
David Colacci's narration.
The author's understanding of Italy and the Italian people.
Good story telling that kept my interest till the end.
His ability to change his voice to create/interpret the various characters in the book. I actually purchased this book (I'm a first time Donna Leon reader) because Colacci was doing the narration. I became of Colacci from reading the John Lescroart, Dismas Hardy series.
No, because I wanted to make it last as long as possible. I could have listened in one sitting, but I forced myself to limit my sessions.
I'm looking forward to my next book by Donna Leon, but I want Colacci to be the reader. I sampled a little of Willful Behavior with Steven Crossley doing the read and decided I'd skip this one.
I'm a designer (interiors and graphics) with an English degree. I recovered my love of reading after a disastrous bout with grad school.
Donna Leon's series has been so highly recommended by so many people for so long that I finally downloaded this book. I found the first half to be very slow-moving, as Leon carefully seeded her plot with clues, red herrings and domestic details. The villains were almost immediately identified, and painted with a very broad brush; the murder "twist" was quickly obvious; the observations on Venetian life only moderately interesting. Then the second half just kind of stumbled to a conclusion. Leon seems very impressed with the decency of her decent characters, which gives the book an odd air of self-satisfaction.
But perhaps it's the narration I found the most off-putting. The narrator is American, so the descriptive bits feel quite transparent to this listener. But, if every single one of your characters is Italian, why adopt an Italian accent in the dialogue? It's not as if we need to distinguish among nationalities (as we did in Neal Stephenson's "Reamde", for instance, or Jess Walter's "Beautiful Ruins"). It puts an unnecessary distance between the listener and the characters, as if they are "colorful characters" rather than people.
I am so happy to have found this series with the wonderful Commissario Guido Brunetti. Raised on Hercule Poirot and falling in love with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache in the Louise Penny’s Three Pines Mysteries, I was searching for another similar series with a smart and likable lead character. I tried the NYPD sergeant Kathleen Mallory series by Carol O'Connell and was very disappointed with the cardboard characters . I am looking forward to listening to all the books with Brunetti and getting to know and like him even more.
NA. I didn't read the dead tree version.
Paula Brunetti, for her solid grounding.
The way the author conveyed the atmosphere of being in Venice in the hot, muggy, non-air conditioned summer. The heat is practically a character itself.
Yes, the plot is good. The solution to the mystery was not readily apparent until revealed by the narrative. The intricacies of politics, corruption, and culture had an effect on the progress of the murder investigation, and I found that additional facet added interest.
He is so good at voicing the different characters. None of his narration felt out of place or jarring, even when he voiced the females and the villains. The Italian accent he gave his characters helped convey the sense of place.
I was moved by the compassion and respect detective Guido Bernelli displayed toward the murder victim and witnesses, and by his loving relationship with his wife and daughter.
This was my first exposure to Donna Leon, whose novels were recommended by a friend. I would purchase another Donna Leon-David Colacci audiobook without hesitation. With her plotting skills and his great narration, I was hooked from beginning to end.
Say something about yourself!
The change of location (other than Britain or U.S.) made the book more interesting. Unique for me.
A better story more interesting characters
Not sure, just a reader not a writer
It was cheap
I have enjoyed Donna's writing in the printed form much more then the spoken format. I find the use of profanity to be distasteful and unnecessary for the most part and when I am reading I can just overlook the objectionable language and get the since of the work. In the audio format it's more difficult to overlook the shocking language.
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