Donna Leon’s Inspector Brunetti Mysteries

When the latest Donna Leon showed up in my Kindle list the other day I realized I have never written about these books in this blog. Leon, an American who lived in Venice for a good portion of her adult life teaching English literature at a nearby university, wrote her first Brunetti novel in 1992 and has faithfully turned one out every year since. These are really good books. Inspector Brunetti is a likeable and smart police detective who reads Roman writers for pleasure. His wife, Paola, teaches English literature at the local university and loves Henry James above all else. They have two children, and through the years we have followed them as they grow toward adulthood. In fact, one of the loveliest parts of the these novels is her descriptions of Brunetti’s family life, which includes detailed reporting on the food! Delicious!

The Brunetti family gives interesting insight to Venetian life, as Paola is the daughter of a very wealthy long-time Venice family (her father is a Count), whereas Brunetti comes from a middle-class background. By setting her characters this way, Leon is able to give a broad view of Venetian history and its contemporary challenges.

Brunetti’s colleagues are entertaining and resourceful, and so these stories are really good. Venice is always fascinating, but these books give you an every-day look at this city, and I always learn a lot.

Although these have been translated from English into many languages, Leon has never let them be translated into Italian, which I think is rather lovely. She still wanted to enjoy her time there without being besieged by her neighbors about Brunetti and the possible crimes he solves! Venice is actually a rather small town.

So here is the list. Read them in order!

Death at La Fenice (1992)
Death in a Strange Country (1993)
Dressed for Death (1994)
Death and Judgment (1995)
Acqua Alta (1996)
Quietly in Their Sleep (1997)
A Noble Radiance (1998)
Fatal Remedies (1999)
Friends in High Places (2000)
A Sea of Troubles (2001)
Wilful Behavior (2002)
Uniform Justice (2003)
Doctored Evidence (2004)
Blood from a Stone (2005)
Through a Glass, Darkly (2006)
Suffer the Little Children (2007)
The Girl of His Dreams (2008)
About Face (2009)
A Question of Belief (2010)
Drawing Conclusions (2011)
Beastly Things (2012)
The Golden Egg (2013)
By Its Cover (2014)
Falling in Love (2015)
The Waters of Eternal Youth (2016)
Earthly Remains (2017)
The Temptation of Forgiveness (2018)
Unto Us a Son Is Given (2019)
Trace Elements (2020)
Transient Desires (2021)

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