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Beastly Things (Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD

4.2 out of 5 stars 196 customer reviews
Book 21 of 24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book is written with that depth of thought about crime and humanity that characterises the best of Leon's work." -- Jane Jakeman Independent "[A] fine, atmospheric novel...Twenty-one books on, [Leon] has lost none of her delightful skill and wit." -- Mark Sanderson Evening Standard "Donna Leon's elegant and compelling crime novels enjoy great success throughout the world. On the surface, this is another entry in a reliable long-running series. But it's also an oblique addressing of some complex issues with typical intelligence and perception." -- Barry Forshaw The Good Book Guide "Beastly Things is a perfect accompaniment to a hot day and a cool glass of white wine. Superb." Crimesquad "[Leon's] books paint such an appealing portrait of modern Venetian life that they've sent droves of holidaymakers to the city." Press Association --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Donna Leon has lived in Venice for over twenty–five years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, where she worked as a teacher. Her previous novels featuring Commissario Brunetti have all been highly acclaimed.
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Product Details

  • Series: Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries (Book 21)
  • Audio CD: 8 pages
  • Publisher: AudioGO; Unabridged edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609988973
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609988975
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,518,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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. Leon has received both the CWA Macallon Silver Dagger for Fiction and the German Corrine Prize for her novels featuring Commisario Guido Brunetti. She lives in Venice.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First a bit of back-story: Last year about this time when Donna Leon was in Washington promoting her latest Brunetti novel, "Drawing Conclusions," someone in the audience asked her where she gets her ideas. So she told us a bit about the Brunetti novel she was then writing, which was this one. She said she'd seen a most unusual looking man on a train one day and later learned he was a victim of a rare condition called Madelung's disease. Then a little later at the dry cleaner's she spotted someone she'd known slightly many years earlier. Inspiration struck and in next to no time, a Madelung man would become her next murder victim, the physique and persona of the former acquaintance would attach itself to a prime suspect, and "Beastly Things" would take off from there.

"Beastly Things" opens at the morgue, with Brunetti looking at the newly arrived and odd-bodied corpse that had just been pulled out of the canal with three knife wounds in his back and no identification on him, while Rizzardi, the coroner, explains most interestingly the man's rare condition. It will then take quite a while for Brunetti and Vianello to discover who the victim was, but eventually they learn he was not a Venetian, but a man from the nearby inland town of Mestre. In short order their investigation will center on a slaughterhouse and what appears to be some nefarious goings-on there.

As longtime Leon fans will know, up until "Drawing Conclusions" the Brunetti novels all featured two concurrent cases.
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Format: Hardcover
I always learn something while reading Donna Leon's mysteries. For instance, although I'd seen the vu compra, the African immigrant street vendors, in Venice, I didn't know anything about them until I read Blood from a Stone (2005).

In this latest Commissario Brunetti mystery, Beastly Things, we learn about slaughterhouses and the meat processing industry. A visit to the slaughterhouse leaves even toughened cops Brunetti and Inspector Vianello speechless. And while they don't actually skip lunch afterward, they both opt for vegetarian sandwiches.

Beastly Things doesn't stand out among Leon's mysteries, but it is a dependable police procedural that keeps the murder in the forefront throughout. Some of her recent books have concentrated more on issues of the day rather than the mystery.

Of interest apart from the case itself were some apparent doubts expressed by Vianello and Brunetti as they once again turned to the Questura's (police headquarters) secretary, Signorina Elettra, to hack into databases they have no legal right to access. They wonder if they rely too much on Elettra's technical wizardry. Leon herself might have been asking the question of herself, at least as it regards the solutions to many of her mysteries, which often rely on Signorina Elettra's unofficial discoveries. Even as a reader, I wonder if I would be as amused if the unpleasant Lieutenant Scarpa or if Brunetti himself were doing the hacking? Elettra is such an engaging character that I look forward to her hacking exploits.

It's no coincidence that Leon has Brunetti's English professor wife, Paola, tussling with an ethical dilemma of her own. Not surprisingly, Paola comes to a decision that will allow her to sleep at night. Brunetti, once again forced to choose between doing the right thing and the legal thing, doesn't have that luxury.
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Format: Hardcover
Fans of the Donna Leon novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti will enjoy this 21st installment in a reliable and consistent series set in Venice. Titled Beastly Things, the novel opens with the homicide of a veterinarian. While Guido investigates the case, his wife, Paola, struggles with an issue of her own at the university. As expected, both Guide and Paola find ways to reach the right resolution. The scenes of Brunetti and his sidekick Vianello visiting a slaughterhouse were more vivid than some readers might appreciate, and the good character and decency of some characters provides a striking contrast to the criminals. By the time Leon shifts to pets as companions at the end of the novel, most readers will have become vegetarians.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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Format: Paperback
A vet is found dead in one of the canals though at first Brunetti has no idea who or what he is. It is some time before careful investigation reveals who the dead man is. Brunetti is as ever dubious about the corruption he sees going on all around him and he is gradually developing an environmental conscience too.

When he discovers that the dead man worked for an abattoir and ran a clinic for pet animals he sets Signorina Elettra to work on finding out whether there could be a connection between either of his jobs and his death. What he finds shocks him to the core and overturns some of his long held beliefs.

The scenes at the abattoir are very well done and show how less is more if you want readers to realise the full horror of a situation. Both Brunetti and Vianello are stunned and rendered speechless for quite a while by what they see and hear. These scenes and the ending redeem this book in my opinion as they are extraordinarily well written.

I have found the environmental messages contained in the plots of the last few books in the series to be a little too much to the fore for my taste. I have continued to read because I enjoy reading about Venice and I find the development of the series characters to be well done. I think Brunetti's family life is well drawn and I especially like his wife Paola with her fiercely held principles, her academic career and her attention to domestic details.

I would recommend this excellent series to anyone who likes their crime novels with added depth and a background which the reader can almost taste, hear, see and smell.
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