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Death At La Fenice by Donna Leon


It isn't often that I come across a literary character and think of him as a new friend, but such is the case with Guido Brunetti. Vice-Commissario of police, fun-loving husband and father, a true gentleman, and personal Venetian tourguide for every reader of Donna Leon's series.

Death At La Fenice, the first mystery in the Brunetti series, introduces Venice the way a true Venetian knows it, without once mentioning a gondola. Walk with Brunetti down the cobbled streets, through fog so dense you can feel it creep under your collar, into some of his favorite cafes and shops, and past treasured buildings, like Teatro La Fenice.

It is in this theater that Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world-renowned composer, dies during the intermission of La Traviata. From cyanide poisoning. Was it his grieving young widow? The star of his opera or her lover? An old flame? Commissario Brunetti conducts his investigation with patience, an inner humor, and chivalry. Whether he's questioning a suspect, reporting to his amusingly predictable and predictably cranky boss Patta, or just going over the day's events with his wife Paola, you'll enjoy being a fly on the wall, eavesdropping on all these conversations.

Leon has a way of writing that just makes the city and characters come alive. I've never been to Venice, but I swear I could hear the footsteps in the narrow streets, taste the warm coffee on a cold, rainy day, and feel the love Brunetti has for his family.

It's a tough economy and travel is expensive. But library books are free!! So check out Death At La Fenice and feel like you're in Italy, at least for a little while. Viaggia felice!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 3, 2011 8:27 AM.

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