©1994 Donna Leon; (P)2009 BBC Audio
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 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.
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.
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.
Proud Canadian. Lakeside views. LOVE audio. Living with MS. Prefer male authors. J.K. fooled me aka Silkworm. Action, adventure, suspense!!
I found the narration of this book to put me to sleep!! I was expecting the Italian version of French Canadian "Gamache" however, this was not to be and I did not finish this book as I forcing myself to continue to listen!!
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.
Gotta love Italian police detective Guido Brunetti! Author Donna Leon serves up Venetian life with a side a great food and wines. The characters are well-rounded and the subject matter is deeply researched. I'm working my way through the entire series and I'm hoping that the missing audiobooks will be available soon.
NA. I didn't read the dead tree version.
Paula Brunetti, for her solid grounding.
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