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Publisher's Summary

In Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti series, the Venetian inspector has been called on to investigate many things, from shocking to petty crimes. But in The Waters of Eternal Youth, the 25th novel in this celebrated series, Brunetti finds himself drawn into a case that may not be a case at all.

Fifteen years ago a teenage girl fell into a canal late at night. Unable to swim, she went under and started to drown, surviving only thanks to a nearby man, an alcoholic, who heard her splashes and pulled her out, though not before she suffered irreparable brain damage that left her in a state of permanent childhood, unable to learn or mature. The drunk man claimed he saw her thrown into the canal by another man, but the following day he couldn't remember a thing.

Now, at a fundraising dinner for a Venetian charity, a wealthy and aristocratic patroness - the girl's grandmother - asks Brunetti if he will investigate. Brunetti's not sure what to do. If a crime was committed, it would surely have passed the statute of limitations. But out of a mixture of curiosity, pity, and a willingness to fulfill the wishes of a guilt-wracked older woman who happens to be his mother-in-law's best friend, he agrees. Brunetti soon finds himself unable to let the case rest, if indeed there is a case.

Awash in the rhythms and concerns of contemporary Venetian life, from historical preservation to housing to new waves of African migrants, and the haunting story of a woman trapped in a damaged perpetual childhood, The Waters of Eternal Youth is another wonderful addition to this series.

©2016 Donna Leon and Diogenes Verlag AG, Zurich (P)2016 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Leon & Colacci - Perfect

Would you consider the audio edition of The Waters of Eternal Youth to be better than the print version?

Absolutely. Author and narrator - great match,

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not "edge of your seat" novel. Leon pens soul stirring mysteries plunging the listener deep into the hearts of her characters.

Have you listened to any of David Colacci’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Have listened to many Colacci's narrations. One of my favorites.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Will tear at your heart.

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to the next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Her usual thought-provoking human mystery.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Waters of Eternal Youth to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version for this book. I find that movies, and audible performances can change the author's intention. Some are better than the written book. Others I cannot abide the narrator and would much prefer the book. And then some video productions outshine the book. But, it always starts with the author.

Which character – as performed by David Colacci – was your favorite?

Guido and Ms. Electra (i apologize for the spelling as I'm not sure what how the secretary's name is spelt.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book was a little easier on the reader and it was somewhat less a societal criticism as her other books. The crime and the response to it could have taken place in many countries. Ms. Leon doesn't criticize the Establishment as much as she does in her usual gentle way.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book slightly more as it had fewer scenes of family bliss and more with the men and women Bernetti works with.
I must say the food descriptions are so well done that my stomach actually growls when we hear what is for lunch or dinner. (supper)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great characters & beautiful prose.Lousy whodunit.

I love Donna Leon's writing style, and the reader David Colacci is absolutely superb. I have great patience with police procedurals, and I have enjoyed numerous others in this series. The primary characters, Guido and Paola Brunetti, and Guido's unofficial assistant and internet whiz, Signorina Elettra, are wonderful. Plus the recent addition of clever and beautiful Commissario Claudia Griffoni from Sicily, and there is great depth. However, although one suspects that there may have been foul play in what befell Manuela, it only becomes evident after more than half-way through the book that there is a real mystery to be solved. Indeed, the mystery is essentially incidental to the story, and Guido solves it not through investigation or intuition but more or less "by accident." In fact, even before then, we have been given enough hints to have a pretty good idea who the villain is anyway, although Guido is a bit slow to recognize it. Maybe he's just getting old!

In short, if you are already acquainted with the characters and liked most of the earlier books, then you probably won't find this one a waste of time. However, if this is your first exposure to the series, you probably will find it really slow and mediocre. Go back to an earlier point, say, #3 or #4, both more typical. All of Ms. Leon's stories are rather slow, spending a great deal of time conveying her detailed knowledge of the history of Venice and her love for the city.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of her very best...

I have read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Ms. Leon books. And I think this is one of her best. Past novels have developed relationships between the Commisario, his wife and family, and Pata's secretary. In this novel, more time is devoted to solving what is apparently not a crime, "just" a tragedy. But Ms Leon draws us in and doesn't even let us go with the last sentence. Stunning, took my breath away....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story

This was one of my favorite story lines among the last several Brunetti books. The characters, settings, and cultural side notes are always fun, but this story had a more intriguing mystery to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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May be my favorite Brunetti

Have read or listened to Donna Leon's Brunetti series all within the last 18 months. Those in the middle of the series Gita little too dark for me and I skipped a few. I loved this one .. Has been good company for spring cleaning, gardening and driving. I listen a lot through the night so miss a lot and enjoy the ease of relistening with the Audible app.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • BHL
  • NY, United States
  • 03-31-16

Addictive Formula Conquers All

This is Donna Leon's 25th Brunetti and I've read them all. Yes, the stories are formulaic and predictable but if you are in love with Guido, his family, his associates and especially Venice, well .... yes. Love does conquer all, even a weak plot. An annual visit to savor Paula's cooking, admire a stylish get-up worn by Senora Eletra, or catch a glimpse of the Dolomites is well worth the Audible credit and several hours of my time. One Audible reviewer complained that she tried it and didn't like it. I'd say go back to #1, read a few more, and if you aren't charmed long, long before this one, scratch Venice off of your travel itineraries. Besides, David Colacci is the perfect narrator for this series .... as good as a singing gondolier!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another great read by Donna Leon

I will continue listening to all of this series. Just completed a seven hour drive, couldn't have done it without this book.

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An exquisite story of love and mystery

Donna Leon writes with a deft touch of mankind's gentleness, of love, of an old detective's twinkling perspective about human perversion, all narrated by David Colacino with the same deftness as the author. Exquisite!

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Hooked Again and again

Dona Leon brings me to everyday Venice and my love of mysteries and Italy is rewarded every time I listen or re-listen to her books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful