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Doctored Evidence

Doctored Evidence

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555848990
Pages: 256
Year: 2007-12-01
As the novel opens, a doctor arrives at the apartment of Maria Grazia Battestini, an elderly shut-in who is hated by everyone around her (including her only surviving relative, her neice) for her miserly, spiteful ways. The doctor dreads his task of visiting her once a week, since she is always complaining about her Romanian illegal-immigrant housekeeper etc. But on this visit the doctor finds Battestini brutally murdered, having been struck by a blunt object in the skull. He immediately reports the murder to the police and the second Lieutenant Scarpa hears that the old lady had a Romanian housekeeper, they assume she was the murderer. He has his men check all of the trains leaving the city and sure enough, the housekeeper, whose name is Flori, is found on the train with a purse containing 600 euros. While she is being questioned by Scarpa's arrogant men, however, she fleas, only to be struck by a train on the opposite track. Scarpa, satisfied that Flori murdered Battestini, decides not to pursue any other suspects. Weeks later, the old lady's neighbor, Signora Gismondi, returns from a trip to London to discover that the old lady is dead and the housekeeper was named the murderer. She calls the police to plead otherwise: on the day of the murder, the housekeeper had been fired and locked out of her house by the old lady, upon which Signora Gismondi had given her some money and offered to take her to the train station so that she could return to her native Romania. Gismondi had personally driven the housekeeper to the station, and had dropped her off there in a calm state, meaning it was unlikely that she committed the murder before leaving to Romania. Scarpa, however, is convinced that Signora Gismondi is lying. Like most of his colleagues, he is a lazy, distrustful, unimaginative police officer who wants to find the easiest solution rather than truly investigating. On the other hand, Commissario Guido Brunetti believes that the woman is telling the truth. He realizes that although he is not assigned to the case, it is his duty to follow through with the woman's tip and find the real killer. After questioning Gismondi, Brunetti searches Battestini's apartmenting, finding among her papers an odd one that seems to be written in code. He takes it back to the office and someone realizes it is a list of bank account numbers. Signorina Elettra, a desk worker who used to work at a bank and is an expert in computer hacking, examines the accounts and discovers that someone had been depositing a fixed monthly amount into each of the right up until the day after the woman's death, when an unknown person consolidated all the accounts and moved them to an offshore account. Commissario Brunetti questions Battestini's lawyer, the woman who was encharged with all of her affairs. She confesses that she was the one who moved the accounts offshore, but that Signora Battestini never told her the source of the payments. In questioning people, Brunetti learns more about Battestini's son, who died five years earlier. Rumors circulate that he was gay and died of AIDS. Battestini's mail carrier reveals that once she was delivering his mail and a pornographic magazine depicting adolescent boys slipped out of its bag. Brunetti also learns that the son worked for the school board. Meanwhile Battestini's doctor reveals that he once heard Battestini brag that her son took very good care of her. Brunetti begins to wonder if perhaps the son was responsible for the deposits in Battestini's accounts. Brunetti begins to suspect that the son was blackmailing someone involved with the board of education, where he used to work. So he interviews the director of the board of ed, Signor Rossi. Signor Rossi says he didn't really know the son, but Brunetti suspects he is lying. Brunetti returns to Battestini's old apartment (where she was murdered) and when he looks in the attic, he finds that it has been ransacked. Someone has come here looking for something. Accidentally, he breaks a statue of the Madonna and inside of it he finds a piece of paper. It is a letter from Signor Rossi (the board of ed director)'s old school saying that they have no record of him every having received a doctorate there. Suddenly, Brunetti puts it all together: Battestini's son, when he was an assistant at the board of ed and Signor Rossi applied for the job there, received this letter and rather than taking it to his superior, decided to blackmail Signor Rossi. Signor Rossi had been paying Battestini off ever since. When Battestini found out that Signor Rossi was angling for a promotion, she decided to invite him to her house to ask him for more money. He couldn't afford it, and she threatened to go public with the information that he was a fraud. He became enraged and killed her. In the last scene, Brunetti forces Rossi to confess. Because of the quirks of the Italian legal system, he will probably not have to serve much time, and so Bruneeeeeetti, though he is not religious, tries to console himself in the assurance of his wife that a higher power will sort it out in the end.
The Girl of His Dreams

The Girl of His Dreams

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555849032
Pages: 272
Year: 2008-05-13
Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries have won legions of fans for their evocative portraits of Venetian life. In her novels, food, family, art, history, and local politics play as central a role as an unsolved crime. In The Girl of His Dreams when a friend of Brunetti’s brother, a priest recently returned from years of missionary work, calls with a request, Brunetti suspects the man’s motives. A new, American-style Protestant sect has begun to meet in the city, and it’s possible the priest is merely apprehensive of the competition. But the preacher could also be fleecing his growing flock, so Brunetti and Paola, along with Inspector Vianello and his wife, go undercover. But the investigation has to be put aside when, one cold and rainy morning, a body is found floating in a canal. It is a child, a gypsy girl. Brunetti suspects she fell off a nearby roof while fleeing an apartment she had robbed. He has to inform the distrustful parents, encamped on the mainland, and soon finds himself haunted by the crime--and the girl. Thought-provoking, eye-opening, and profoundly moving, The Girl of His Dreams is classic Donna Leon, a spectacular, heart-wrenching addition to the series.
Wilful Behaviour

Wilful Behaviour

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1407070703
Pages: 368
Year: 2010-04-13
When Commissario Brunetti receives a visit from one of his wife's students with a strange and vague interest in investigating the possibility of a pardon for a crime committed by her grandfather many years ago, he thinks little of it, despite being intrigued by the girl's intelligence and moral conscience. But when the girl is found stabbed to death, Claudia Leonardo is no longer Paola's student, but instead becomes Brunetti's case. Claudia seemed to have no discernible living family, but lived with an elderly Austrian woman. Brunetti is stunned by the extraordinary art collection the old woman keeps, and when she in turn is found dead, the case begins to unlock long buried secrets of collaboration during the war, secrets few in Italy are happy to explore...
A Sea Of Troubles

A Sea Of Troubles

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1407098683
Pages: 336
Year: 2010-04-13
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 ...
Uniform Justice

Uniform Justice

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0099415178
Pages: 326
Year: 2004
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. But as Brunetti investigates further he is 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?
Fatal Remedies

Fatal Remedies

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555849016
Pages: 288
Year: 2009-12-29
For Commissario Brunetti, it began with an early morning phone call. In the chill of the Venetian dawn, a sudden act of vandalism shatters the quiet of the deserted city. But soon Brunetti is shocked to find that the culprit waiting to be apprehended at the scene is someone from his own family. Meanwhile, Brunetti is under pressure from his superiors to solve a daring robbery with a link to a suspicious accidental death. Does it all lead back to the Mafia? And how are his family’s actions connected to these crimes?
A Question of Belief

A Question of Belief

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802197116
Pages: 288
Year: 2010-05-04
Donna Leon’s best-selling series featuring the principled, warmhearted Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti has won her countless fans, critical acclaim, and international renown as one of the world’s best crime writers. In A Question of Belief, Brunetti must contend with ingenious corruption, bureaucratic intransigence, and the stifling heat of a Venetian summer. With his hometown beset by hordes of tourists and baking under a glaring sun, Brunetti’s greatest wish is to go to the mountains with his family, where he can sleep under a down comforter and catch up on his reading. But before he can go on vacation, a folder with court records has landed on his desk, brought by an old friend. It appears that cases at the local court—hardly known as a model of efficiency—are being delayed to the benefit of one of the parties. A creative new trick for corrupting the system, perhaps, but what can Brunetti do about it? And just when it looks like Brunetti will be able to get away, a shocking, violent crime forces him to stay in Venice. This is a stellar addition to Leon’s celebrated series: atmospheric, packed with excellent characters, and building to an explosive, indelible ending.
Blood from a Stone

Blood from a Stone

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555848966
Pages: 288
Year: 2007-12-01
Blood from a Stone brings Donna Leon's celebrated character Commissario Guido Brunetti back on the scene: On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death-fake handbags of every designer label. The dead man is one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours and trading without a work permit. Like everybody involved, Commissario Brunetti wonders why anyone would kill an illegal immigrant. But once Brunetti begins to investigate this unfamiliar Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake within the secretive society. Warned by Patta, his superior, to resist further involvement in the case, Brunetti only becomes more determined to unearth the truth behind this mysterious killing. Reluctant as he is to let this event be smugly relegated to the category of "not worth dealing with," how far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture in this illegal community? Blood from a Stone is an exquisite and irresistible mystery offering an unexpected take on life in contemporary Venice.
Dressed for Death

Dressed for Death

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555849008
Pages: 278
Year: 2008-12-30
Commissario Guido Brunetti’s hopes for 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 completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. He then 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.
Death at La Fenice

Death at La Fenice

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802194133
Pages: 288
Year: 2012-04-20
Death at La Fenice is the first novel in Donna Leon’s internationally best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. During intermission at the famed La Fenice opera house in Venice, a notoriously difficult conductor is poisoned, and suspects abound. Brunetti, a native Venetian, sets out to unravel the mystery behind the high-profile murder. To do so, he he calls on his knowledge of Venice, its culture, and its dirty politics. Revenge, corruption, and even Italian cuisine play a role. The novel that started it all, Death at La Fenice is an entrancing mystery, rich in atmosphere. “Few detective writers create so vivid, inclusive and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon, the expatriate American with the Venetian heart. . . . One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever.” —The Washington Post
Drawing Conclusions

Drawing Conclusions

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802195628
Pages: 256
Year: 2011-04-05
Nearly twenty years ago, when a conductor was poisoned and the Questura sent a man to investigate, readers first met Commissario Guido Brunetti. Since 1992’s Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon and her shrewd, sophisticated, and compassionate investigator have been delighting readers around the world. For her millions of fans, Leon’s novels have opened a window into the private Venice of her citizens, a world of incomparable beauty, family intimacy, shocking crime, and insidious corruption. This internationally acclaimed, bestselling series is widely considered one of the best ever written, and Atlantic Monthly Press is thrilled to be publishing the twentieth installment, Drawing Conclusions, this spring. Late one night, Brunetti is called away from dinner to investigate the death of a widow in her modest apartment. Though there are some signs of a struggle, the medical examiner rules that she died of a heart attack. It seems there is nothing for Brunetti to investigate. But he can’t shake the feeling that something or someone may have triggered her heart attack, that perhaps the woman was threatened. Conversations with the woman’s son, her upstairs neighbor, and the nun in charge of the old-age home where she volunteered, do little to satisfy Brunetti’s nagging curiosity. With the help of Inspector Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra, perhaps Brunetti can get to the truth and find some measure of justice. Insightful and emotionally powerful, Drawing Conclusions reaffirms Donna Leon’s status as one of the masters of literary crime fiction.
Suffer the Little Children

Suffer the Little Children

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555849067
Pages: 272
Year: 2007-12-01
Donna Leon’s charming, evocative, and addictive Commissario Guido Brunetti series continues with Suffer the Little Children. When Commissario Brunetti is summoned in the middle of the night to the hospital bed of a senior pediatrician, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men -- a young Carabiniere captain and two privates from out of town -- have burst into the doctor's apartment in the middle of the night, attacked him and taken away his eighteenth-month old baby boy. What could have motivated an assault by the forces of the state so violent it has left the doctor mute? Who would have authorized such an alarming operation? At the same time, Brunetti’s colleague Inspector Vianello discovers a money-making scam between pharmacists and doctors in the city. But it appears as if one of the pharmacists is after more than money. Donna Leon's new novel is as subtle and fascinating as ever, set in a beautifully-realized Venice, a glorious city seething with small-town vice.
Beastly Things

Beastly Things

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802194508
Pages: 288
Year: 2012-04-03
When the body of man is found in a canal, damaged by the tides, carrying no wallet, and wearing only one shoe, Brunetti has little to work with. No local has filed a missing-person report, and no hotel guests have disappeared. Where was the crime scene? And how can Brunetti identify the man when he can’t show pictures of his face? The autopsy shows a way forward: it turns out the man was suffering from a rare, disfiguring disease. With Inspector Vianello, Brunetti canvasses shoe stores, and winds up on the mainland in Mestre, outside of his usual sphere. From a shopkeeper, they learn that the man had a kindly way with animals. At the same time, animal rights and meat consumption are quickly becoming preoccupying issues at the Venice Questura, and in Brunetti’s home, where conversation at family meals offer a window into the joys and conflicts of Italian life. Perhaps with the help of Signorina Elettra, Brunetti and Vianello can identify the man and understand why someone wanted him dead. As subtle and engrossing as ever, Leon’s Beastly Things is immensely enjoyable, intriguing, and ultimately moving.
Through a Glass, Darkly

Through a Glass, Darkly

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 1555849075
Pages: 272
Year: 2007-12-01
Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories. On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced by the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass factory owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti. Brunetti's curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? Then one morning the body of De Cal's night watchman is found. Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, in quiet bars, and down narrow streets, Brunetti searches for the killer. Will he unravel the clues before the night watchman's death is allowed to be forgotten? A fascinating novel set in the intersection between tourism and native Venetian society, Through a Glass, Darkly is Donna Leon at her finest.
Death in Sicily

Death in Sicily

Author: Andrea Camilleri
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143123688
Pages: 684
Year: 2013
Collects in one volume the first three books in the mystery series starring the cynical, compassionate, and epicurean Inspector Montalbano.