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Donna Leon - Page 1
Donna Leon
Uniform JusticeUniform Justice New13 Mar 03
Wilful BehaviourWilful Behaviour Newpbk 06 Mar 03
A Sea of TroublesA Sea of Troubles
Friends in High PlacesFriends in High Places
Fatal RemediesFatal Remedies
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About the Author (Photo (c) Jerry Bauer)

New First British Edition Heinemann (2003)
Buy at Uniform Justice
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, a presumed suicide, in Venice’s elite military academy, Brunetti’s emotions are complex: pity and sorrow for 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 a doctor and former politician, a man of an impeccable integrity all too rare in Italian politics. Dr Moro is clearly and understandably devastated by his son’s death; but while both he and his apparently estranged wife seem convinced that the boy’s death could not have been suicide, neither appears at all keen to talk to the police nor to involve Brunetti in any investigation of the circumstances in which he died. As Brunetti - and the indispensable Signorina Elettra -investigates the doctor’s political career and the circumstances of his estrangement from his wife, they are faced by a wall of silence, as the military protects its own and civilians are unwilling to talk. Is this the natural reluctance of Italians to involve themselves with the authorities, or is Brunetti facing a conspiracy of silence?

First British Edition Heinemann (2002)
New Paperback - Arrow (2003)
Buy at Wilful Behaviour
In Donna Leon’s most powerful novel yet, the murder of a young woman draws Commissario Brunetti into buried secrets rating back to WWII ....
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 attracted and intrigued by the girl’s intelligence and moral seriousness. But when she is found dead, Claudia Leonardo is suddenly no longer simply Paola’s student, but Brunetti’s case...
Claudia seems to have no discernible living family - her only familial relationship is with an elderly Austrian woman, who was the lover of her grandfather, but was not herself Claudia’s grandmother. Brunetti is both intrigued and stunned by the extraordinary art collection the old woman keeps in her small, unprepossessing flat. When she in turn is found dead, the case seems to be about to open up long buried secrets of collaboration and the exploitation of Italian Jews during the war, secrets few in Italy are happy to explore...

`A classic example of detective-book murder, it is satisfyingly difficult to resolve... Leon whips up a brilliant narrative storm’ Sunday Times
`Compelling... Absorbingly detailed... This is a powerful story, brilliantly evoking Venetian atmosphere, and the characters of Brunetti and his family continue to deepen throughout this series’ The Times
`Donna Leon’s novels have become successively more subtle, more complex and perhaps more serious, without ever losing their compelling power as narratives. This is especially true of Wilful Behaviour; the story is wholly engrossing’ Evening Standard

Paperback - Arrow (2002)
First British Edition Heinemann (2001)
Buy at A Sea of Troubles
‘Many stories are told about the men of Pellestrina, the endurance and strength that have been forced upon them in their attempt to wrest a living from the sea. Old people in Venice remember a time when the men of Pellestrina were said to spend the nights, winter or summer, sleeping on the dirt floors of their cottages instead of in their beds so as to more easily push themselves out into the early morning and make the tide that would carry them into the Adriatic and thus to the fish. Like most stories that are told about how much tougher people were in the olden days, this is probably apocryphal.’
The murder of two of the clam fishermen of 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 Questore’s 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...
A Sea of Troubles sees Commissario Brunetti adrift in the Venetian lagoon, but as wise and sympathetically human as ever, in Donna Leon’s latest stunning addition to the Brunetti series.

‘The arrival of a new Donna Leon book fills me with pleasurable anticipation. She tells a good story, including the best of all current police detectives, Commissario Brunetti, and locates it in a superbly described Venice… The plot is beautifully constructed. The climax is exciting and disturbing . . . Brunetti is as irresistible as ever. I await the next Leon with impatience’ Gerald Kaufman in the Scotsman
‘Brunetti is hard to beat . . . Leon’s tenth novel more than maintains the standard of its predecessors. . .’ TLS
‘She shows us how to lift the roman policier beyond its genre label, and into an emotionally complex, intellectually and morally satisfying narrative’ Scotland on Sunday
‘Donna Leon goes from strength to strength . . . Her latest Guido Brunetti novel is clever, vivid and wholly absorbing . . . This is her tenth Brunetti novel but it's as fresh and entertaining as the first . . .’ Observer
‘Brunetti is always loveable, and Leon shows us his human failings as well as his great strengths, compassion being one of the foremost. In this she demonstrates yet again how to lift the roman policier beyond its genre label and into an emotionally complex, intellectually and morally satisfying narrative.’ Scotland on Sunday
‘Brunetti is hard to beat... Leon’s tenth novel featuring Commissario Brunetti more than maintains the standard of its predecessors...’ Timer Literary Supplement
`If setting is vital to the crime novel, here it is used to splendid effect in the creation of a mesmerising novel, which shows how much life imitates art and how wit and wisdom are as universal as evil.’ Express on Sunday
`One of Donna Leon’s best novels... the alliances, friendships and in this case love interest give the book a warm glow.’ Spectator ‘Leon, like Michael Didbin before her, has a nice feel for her exotic setting, and in Brunetti has created a sympathetic and very plausible policeman’ Irish Times

First British Edition Heinemann (2000)
Friends in High Places
Winner of the 2000 Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger for Fiction
When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat concerned to investigate the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years before, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, even a cop, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant local government department. But when the bureaucrat rings him at work, clearly scared by some information he plans to give Brunetti, and is then found dead after a fall from scaffolding, something is clearly going on that has implications rather greater than the fate of Guido's own apartment.
Brunetti’s investigations take him into unfamiliar areas of Venetian life - drug abuse and loan-sharking - while the deaths of two young drug addicts and the arrest - and subsequent release - of a suspected drug dealer, reveal, once again, what a difference it makes in Venice to have friends in high places.

‘A splendid series… with a backdrop of the city so vivid you can smell it’ Sunday Times
`Crime writing of the highest order: powerful, relevant and all too full of human failings’ Guardian
`It’s a mark of this elegant and cunning writer that not even the most wonderful city on earth upstages her characters and plots... With her usual skilful plotting and perfectly judged pace, Leon teases out a tangled drama of institutional sleaze, loan-sharking and drug abuse... I’ve always thought I couldn’t love anyone who didn’t love Venice, and I don’t think I could really understand a crime fan who didn’t love Donna Leon’ Scotland on Sunday
`The plot and subplots unfold elegantly; beauty and the beast march hand in hand, and the result is rich entertainment’ Sunday Times
`A splendid read, clever and provoking’ Observer
`To read Donna Leon is to be transported instantly to the sinisterly ravishing backwaters of Venice... a crisply suspenseful and perfectly formed tale of drug-dealing and loan-sharking, against the most beautiful of settings’ Ms London

Paperback - Arrow (2000)
Buy at Fatal Remedies
See Review by Val McDermid - Gold Dagger winner & creator of Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan & Tony Hill
See Review by Andrew Taylor - author of the highly acclaimed Roth & Lydmouth Series
It began with an early morning phone call. A sudden act of vandalism had just been committed in the chill Venetian dawn. But Commissario Guide 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 then 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…

'In her detective novels, Donna Leon can paralyse the reader with joyful suspense' Mail on Sunday
'Donna Leon has established Commissario Guido Brunetti as one of the most engaging of fictional detectives… Brunetti is… back an track, sadder perhaps, but wiser and wittier than ever' Sunday Times
'Ms Leon tells a masterly tale… intriguing, fast-moving and beautifully crafted' Glasgow Herald

About The Author
A New Yorker of Irish/Spanish descent, Donna Leon first went to Italy in 1965, returning regularly over the next decade or so while pursuing a career as an academic in the States and then later in Iran, China and finally Saudi Arabia. It was after a period in Saudi Arabia, which she found ‘damaging physically and spiritually’ that Donna decided to move to Venice, where she has now lived for over twenty years.
Her debut as a crime fiction writer began as a joke: talking in a dressing room in Venice’s opera-house La Fenice after a performance, Donna and a singer friend were vilifying a particular German conductor. From the thought ‘why don’t we kill him?’ and discussion of when, where and how, the idea for Death at La Fenice took shape, and was completed over the next four months.
Donna Leon is the crime reviewer for the Sunday Times and is an opera expert. She has written the libretto for a comic opera, entitled Dona Gallina. Set in a chicken coop, and making use of existing baroque music, Donna Galliana was premiered in Innsbruck in December. Brigitte Fassbaender, one of the great mezzo-sopranos of our time, and now head of the Landestheater in Innsbruck, agreed to come out of retirement both to direct the opera and to play the part of the witch Azuneris (whose name combines the names of the two great Verdi villainesses Azucena and Amneris.


N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.

  • Uniform Justice (Heinemann, 2003) New Mar 03
  • Wilful Behaviour (Heinemann, 2002) New Arrow Pbk Mar 03
  • A Sea of Troubles (Heinemann, 2001) Arrow Pbk Mar 02 (Commissario Guido Brunetti)
  • Friends in High Places (Heinemann, 2000) winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction (Commissario Guido Brunetti)
  • Fatal Remedies (Heinemann, 1999) Arrow Pbk Mar 00 (Commissario Guido Brunetti)
  • A Noble Radiance (Heinemann, 1998) (Commissario Guido Brunetti)
  • Death at La Fenice
  • The Death of Faith (Commissario Guido Brunetti)
  • Acqua Alta (Commissario Guido Brunetti)
  • A Venetian Reckoning
  • Death in a Strange Country
  • The Anonymous Venetian

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