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Donna Leon

Born on 29 September, 1942 in Montclair, New Jersey, Donna Leon has been publishing novels since 1992 and specializes in crime fiction. She is highly respected and much loved for her series of books starring Commissario Guido Brunetti.

Her work has been translated into many languages but not Italian (at her request). She has been published around the world and won the Silver Dagger for Fiction for Friends in High Places.



Donna Leon Books

  • ADJSV 16 years +
    16 years +
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    A lorry crashes on one of the treacherous bends in the Italian Dolomites, spilling a terrible cargo ...A prominent international layer is found dead in the carriage of an intercity train at Saint Lucia ...Can the two tragedies possibly be connected? Commissario Guido Brunetti digs deep into the secret lives of the once great and good for the answer. For in a seedy Venetian bar lies the clue to an evil crime network reaching far beyond the laguna. But it will take another violent death in Venice before the forces of justice can even begin to proceed ...
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    In Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon's first novel in the Commissario Brunetti series, readers were introduced to the glamorous and cut-throat world of opera and to one of Italy's finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli - then a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Now, many years after Brunetti cleared her name, Flavia has returned to the illustrious La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca. As an opera superstar, Flavia is well acquainted with attention from adoring fans and aspiring singers. But when one anonymous admirer inundates her with bouquets of yellow roses - on stage, in her dressing room and even inside her locked apartment - it becomes clear that this fan has become a potentially dangerous stalker. Distraught, Flavia turns to an old friend for help. Familiar with Flavia's melodramatic temperament, Commissario Brunetti is at first unperturbed by her story, but when another young opera singer is attacked he begins to think Flavia's fears may be justified. In order to keep his friend out of danger, Brunetti must enter the psyche of an obsessive fan and find the culprit before anyone comes to harm.
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    In The Waters of Eternal Youth, the twenty-fifth instalment in the bestselling Brunetti series, our Commissario finds himself drawn into a case that may not be a crime at all. Brunetti is investigating a cold case by request of the grand Contessa Lando-Continui, a friend of Brunetti's mother-in-law. Fifteen years ago the Contessa's teenage granddaughter, Manuela, was found drowning in a canal. She was rescued from the canal at the last moment, but in many ways it was too late; she suffered severe brain damage and her life was never the same again. Once a passionate horse rider, Manuela, now aged thirty, cannot remember the accident, or her beloved horse, and lives trapped in an eternal youth. The Contessa, unconvinced that this was an accident, implores Brunetti to find the culprit she believes was responsible for ruining Manuela's life. Out of a mixture of curiosity, pity and a willingness to fulfil the wishes of a loving grandmother, Brunetti reopens the case. But once he starts to investigate, Brunetti finds a murky past and a dark story at its heart. The Waters of Eternal Youth is awash in the rhythms and concerns of contemporary Venetian life, from historical preservation, to housing, to new waves of African migrants, all circling the haunting story of a woman trapped in a perpetual childhood.
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    Granted leave from the Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti decides to finally take a well-earned break and visit Sant'Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the Venetian laguna. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Davide Casati, the mysterious caretaker of the villa Brunetti has been staying in, goes missing following a sudden storm. Nobody can find him - not his daughter, not his friends, and not the woman he's been secretly visiting . . . Convinced that this was no accident, Brunetti feels compelled to set aside his holiday and discover what happened to the man who had recently become his friend.
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    By Its Cover is the much anticipated twenty-third instalment in Donna Leon's bestselling crime series, where Commissario Brunetti is better than ever as he addresses questions of worth and value alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra. When several valuable antiquarian books go missing from a prestigious library in the heart of Venice, Commissario Brunetti is immediately called to the scene. The staff suspect an American researcher has stolen them, but for Brunetti something doesn't quite add up. Taking on the case, the Commissario begins to seek information about some of the library's regulars, such as the ex-priest Franchini, a passionate reader of ancient Christian literature, and Contessa Morosini-Albani, the library's chief donor, and comes to the conclusion that the thief could not have acted alone. However, when Franchini is found murdered in his home, the case takes a more sinister turn and soon Brunetti finds himself submerged in the dark secrets of the black market of antiquarian books. Alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra, he delves into the pages of Franchini's past and into the mind of a book thief in order to uncover the terrible truth.
  • ADJMM 16 years +
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    Commissario Brunetti's hopes of a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera - a body so badly beaten the face is unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the dead man. But he is met with a wall of silence. Then he receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information. And before the night is out Brunetti is confronting yet another appalling and apparently senseless death ...
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    Commissario Guido Brunetti is kicking his heels, pondering the recent lack of crime in Venice, when a beautiful young woman appears at his office door. Now calling herself Maria Testa, his visitor is more familiar to Brunetti as Suor'lmmacolata, the nun who once cared for his mother at the casa di cura in Dolo. But Maria has recently left her convent after the unexpected deaths of five patients. Brunetti offers to make some enquiries, but finds now obvious cause for concern. Is Maria simply creating fears to justify abandoning her vocation? Or has she stumbled on to a deeply rooted, far more sinister scenario - and put her own life in very grave danger ...?
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    When Commissario Brunetti is summoned to the hospital bedside of a senior paediatrician whose skull has been brutally fractured, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men have burst into the doctor's apartment in the middle of the night, attacked him and took his 18-month-old son - but why? As he investigates, Brunetti finds infertility, desperation, and babies for sale. Meanwhile, Inspector Vianello uncovers a scam between pharmacists and doctors in the city. And certain information about one's neighbours can lead to all kinds of corruption and all sorts of pain...Donna Leon's new novel is as subtle and gripping as ever, set in a beautifully realised Venice, seething with small-town malice.
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    When a wealthy Venetian woman is found brutally murdered, the prime suspect is her Romanian maid, who has fled the city. As she attempts to leave the country, carrying a considerable sum of money and forged papers, the maid runs into the path of an oncoming train and is killed. Case closed. But when the old woman's neighbour returns from abroad, it becomes clear that the maid could not have been the killer. Commissario Brunetti decides - unofficially - to take the case on himself. As Brunetti investigates, it becomes clear that the motive for the murder was unlikely to have been greed, rather that it had its roots in the temptations of lust. But perhaps Brunetti is thinking of the wrong deadly sin altogether...
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    When one of his wife Paola's students comes to visit him, with a strange and vague interest in investigating the possibility of a pardon for a crime committed by her grandfather many years ago, Commissario Brunetti thinks little of it, beyond being intrigued and attracted by the girl's intelligence and moral seriousness. But when she is found murdered, clearly stabbed to death, Claudia Leonardo is suddenly no longer simply Paola's student, but Brunetti's case.
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    One rainy morning Commissario Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello respond to an emergency call reporting a body floating near some steps on the Grand Canal. Reaching down to pull it out, Brunetti's wrist is caught by the silkiness of golden hair, and he sees a small foot - together he and Vianello lift a dead girl from the water. But, inconceivably, no one has reported a missing child, nor the theft of the gold jewellery that she carries. Brunetti is drawn into a search not only for the cause of her death but also for her identity, her family, and for the secrets that people will keep in order to protect their children - be they innocent or guilty. From the canals and palazzi of Venice to a Gypsy encampment on the mainland, Brunetti struggles with institutional prejudice and entrenched criminality to try to unravel the fate of the dead child.
  • AACYG
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    Early one morning Guido Brunetti, Commissario of the Venice Police, confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young man is fished out of a fetid Venetian canal. All the clues point to a violent mugging, but for Brunetti, robbery seems altogether too convenient a motive. Then something very incriminating is discovered in the dead man's flat - something which points to the existence of a high-level cabal - and Brunetti becomes convinced that somebody, somewhere, is taking great pains to provide a ready-made solution to the crime.
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    It is a luminous spring day in Venice, as Commissario Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello take a break from the Questura to come to the rescue of Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, who has been arrested while protesting against chemical pollution of the Venetian lagoon. But it is not Marco who has uncovered the guilty secret of the polluting glass foundries of the island of Murano, nor he whose body is found dead in front of the furnaces which burn at 1,400 degrees, night and day. The victim has left clues in a copy of Dante, and Brunetti must descend into an inferno to discover who is fouling the waters of the lagoon.
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    Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Questura is shocked to hear that Brett Lynch, a friend since a murder case at La Fenice, has suffered a savage beating. The attack, in the beautiful palazzo home of Flavia Petrelli, reigning diva of La Scala, had come with a message: 'Don't keep that appointment with Dottor Semenzato.' Then, with the storm clouds gathering fast over the city, a man's body is found ...
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    A sudden act of vandalism had just been committed in the chill Venetian dawn. But Commissario Guido Brunetti soon finds out that the perpetrator is no petty criminal. For the culprit waiting to be apprehended at the scene of the crime is none other than Paola Brunetti, his wife. As Paola's actions provoke a crisis in the Brunetti household, Brunetti himself is under increasing pressure at work: a daring robbery with Mafia connections is linked to a suspicious death and his superiors need quick results. As his professional and personal lives clash, Brunetti's own career is under threat - and the conspiracy which Paola had risked everything to expose draws him inexorably to the brink ...
  • ATWET
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    When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat investigating the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years earlier, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant government department. But when the bureaucrat rings Brunetti at work, clearly scared, and is then found dead after a fall from scaffolding, something is obviously going on that has implications greater than the fate of Brunetti's apartment ...
  • BRIJH
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    Important information is leaking from inside the Venetian Questura, and Commissario Guido Brunetti is tasked with uncovering the culprit. But before Brunetti can begin his investigation, a friend of his wife's comes asking for his help, fearful that her son is using drugs. A few weeks later, the woman's husband is found unconscious at the foot of a bridge. Following various contradictory leads, Brunetti navigates his way through Venice's underworld in an attempt to understand who is responsible for the vicious attack. But as he gets closer to discovering what happened, Brunetti is faced with a difficult truth: sometimes, it's the best intentions that lead to the darkest of consequences . . .
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    The murder of two clam fishermen off the island of Pellestrina, south of the Lido on the Venetian lagoon, draws Commissario Brunetti into the close-knit community of the island, bound together by a code of loyalty and a suspicion of outsiders worthy of the Mafia. When the boss' secretary Signorina Elettra volunteers to visit the island, where she has relatives, Brunetti finds himself torn between his duty to solve the murders, concerns for Elettra's safety, and his not entirely straightforward feelings for her.
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    At a dinner party given by his parents-in-law, Commissario Brunetti meets Franca Marinello, the wife of a prosperous Venetian businessman. He's charmed - perhaps too charmed, suggests his wife Paola - by her love of Virgil and Cicero, but shocked by her appearance. A few days later, Brunetti is visited by Carabinieri Maggior Filippo Guarino from the nearby city of Marghera. As part of a wider investigation into Mafia takeovers of businesses in the region, Guarino wants information about the owner of a trucking company who was found murdered in his office. He believes the man's death is connected to the illegal transportation of refuse - and more sinister material - in his company's trucks. No stranger to mutual suspicion and competition between rival Italian police departments, Brunetti is nevertheless puzzled by the younger man's paranoid behaviour. Eventually Guarino agrees to email a photo of his suspect, but by the time the photograph arrives, he himself is dead. Was he killed because he got too close?
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    In a small village at the foot of the Italian Dolomites, the gardens of a deserted farmhouse have lain untouched for decades. But the new owner, keen for renovations to begin, is summoned urgently to the house when his workmen disturb a macabre grave. Wild animals have done their grisly work and the human corpse is badly decomposed. Then a valuable signet ring is found close by, providing the first vital clue. It leads Commissario Guido Brunetti right to the heart of aristocratic Venice, to a family still grieving for its abducted son.
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    The twisted maze of Venice's canals has always been shrouded in mystery. Even the celebrated opera house, La Fenice, has seen its share of death. But nothing so horrific and violent as that of world-famous conductor, Maestro Helmut Wellauer - poisoned during a performance of La Traviata. Even Commissario of Police, Guido Brunetti, used to the labyrinthine corruptions of the city, is shocked at the number of enemies Wellauer has made on his way to the top - but just how many have motive enough for murder? The beauty of Venice is crumbling - and evil can seep through its decaying stones.
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    As Venice experiences a debilitating heatwave, Commissario Brunetti escapes the city to spend time with his family. For Ispettore Vianello, however, the weather is the last thing on his mind. It appears his aunt has become obsessed with horoscopes and has been withdrawing large amounts of money from the family business. Not knowing what to do, he consults Brunetti and asks permission to trail her. Meanwhile, Brunetti receives a visit from a friend who works at the Commune. It seems that discrepancies have been occurring at the Courthouse involving a judge and an usher with a flawless track record. Intrigued, Brunetti asks Signorina Elettra to find out what she can while he's away. When news reaches Brunetti that the usher from the Courthouse has been viciously murdered, he returns to investigate. But why would someone want a good man dead, and what might his death have to do with the Courthouse discrepancies?
  • AUBFY
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    Neither Commissario Brunetti nor his wife Paola have ever had much sympathy for the Italian armed forces, so when a young cadet is found hanged, at Venice's elite military academy, Brunetti's emotions are complex: pity and sorrow at the death of a boy close in age to his own son, and contempt and irritation for the arrogance and high-handedness of the boy's teachers and fellow students. The young man is the son of an ex-politician, a man of an impeccable integrity all too rare in Italian politics. But as Brunetti - and the indispensable Signorina Elettra - investigate further, no one seems willing to talk, as the military protects its own and civilians keep their own counsel. Is this the natural reluctance of Italians to involve themselves with the authorities, or is Brunetti facing a conspiracy of silence?
  • ATWER
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    On a cold night shortly before Christmas, an immigrant street vendor is killed in Venice's Campo Santo Stefano. The nearest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death - fake handbags of every designer label - but they have seen nothing that might be of much help to the police. When Commissario Brunetti arrives on the scene, he finds it hard to understand why anyone would murder an illegal immigrant. They have few social connections and little money; in-fighting among them is the obvious answer. But once Brunetti begins investigating this unfamiliar Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake in the immigrant community...