- File Size: 4791 KB
- Print Length: 320 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (March 5, 2019)
- Publication Date: December 13, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07HB8Q621
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,805 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||$16.00|
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Unto Us a Son Is Given (A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery Book 28) Kindle Edition
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Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Crime Reads
“Venetians love to gossip, Donna Leon advises us in Unto Us a Son Is Given, her latest mystery featuring that most compassionate of policemen, Guido Brunetti, commissario di polizia. There’s bound to be talk when Gonzalo Rodriguez de Tejeda, the rich Spanish godfather of Brunetti’s wife, Paola, adopts his lover and makes the young man his legal heir . . . This cop is neither jaded nor callous, and he has that rare quality Italians would call ‘un cuore d’oro,’ a heart of gold.”―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
“Here is what makes the [Commissario Brunetti series] so special; Leon invests time in conversations. Often an entire chapter is a talk between two people that seems to be about nothing, but you are riveted to the page, wanting to here it. This is true in her latest book, Unto Us a Son Is Given . . . The books are interesting because of the crimes, the revelations of who really does all the work at the police station, the beauty of Venice with all of its traditions and charms, but it is the conversation over dinner or coffee or wine that hold everything together, and in this Leon excels, making ordinary words most extraordinary.”―Ashton Gazette
“Redolent, as always, with the sights, smells, sounds, and mealtimes of the water-immersed city . . . In Leon’s latest, a pleasantly deceptive lull―imposed by contemplative discussions of familial and non-familial obligations as well as a telling reading of Euripides’s The Trojan Women―is dissolved with deadly force.”―Seattle Review of Books
“Donna Leon’s latest Commissario Brunetti mystery is an intriguing look at love [and] family life. There is a mystery and a murder here, but they appear very late in this intriguing yarn . . . The real focus is on the intricate social realities and old rich families of Leon’s beautiful, mysterious and labyrinthine Venice.”―Providence Journal
“Donna Leon is a master at creating a sense of place; as a result, Venice shines through the pages of this novel. I can think of no other fictional detective with the heart and soul of Guido Brunetti, who is devoted to his family, his job, and his city. With vivid and intriguing narrative, Leon brings the reader right into the minds of the characters, and each one is more interesting than the next. Coupled with unexpected twists and turns Unto Us a Son Is Given doesn’t disappoint.”―Tulsa Book Review
“Another excellent mystery . . . If you are looking for a mystery series with lots of atmosphere and wonderful characters, you should try them. Donna Leon makes you feel like you are there, having a glass of white wine in a little bar―in Venice!”―Concord Insider
“Once again, Leon transforms what might have been a straightforward mystery into something much richer and more resonant―in this case, a meditation on love, loss, family, and prejudice . . . Many crime novels place domestic story lines alongside crime plots, but Leon masterfully blends the two, enhancing our understanding of both . . . Far more than a whodunit, the real subject of this novel (and Leon’s work in general) is what we all do to one another. Like Louise Penny, Leon has cultivated an utterly devoted audience, ever anxious to get to know more about her characters.”―Booklist (starred review)
“Each year brings the delight of a new Commissario Guido Brunetti novel, and this twenty-eighth book featuring the ever-reflective Venetian detective does not disappoint . . . As always, the skillful Leon weaves deft plot threads . . . Along the way, murder and perfidy abound, providing Brunetti with numerous investigative challenges. Ultimately, Brunetti muses about the profound nature of family ties and the danger of family secrets, inviting readers to do likewise.”―Library Journal (starred review)
“Unto Us a Son Is Given takes a familiar detective and his wife and adds intriguing layers to their backstory. Fans of other quiet mystery authors, like Louise Penny or Jacqueline Winspear, are sure to enjoy Brunetti’s soul-searching. And, as always, Brunetti’s introspection is framed by the sights and tastes of Venice, which Leon brings to life.”―Shelf Awareness
“Leon gives her readers a murder, a mystery or three, and a great deal of other wonderful things in this twenty-eighth installment, which is arguably her best to date . . . Leon makes it look easy and continues to top herself time after time after time. Brunetti is an immediately likable and unforgettable protagonist . . . Even at this late date, Leon remains amazing. With each installment of the series, she continues to find and reveal new layers to her familiar characters and to Venice, which is full of quiet and enjoyable surprises . . .You can start with any volume, but if you begin with Unto Us a Son Is Given, you’ll want to devote time to reading the backlist. You won’t be able to help yourself.”―Book Reporter
“Leon is a multifaceted, effortlessly assured writer. Her plots are innovative and layered, her characters have developed and matured over the course of a lengthy series, and her prose is imbued with wit and compassion on virtually every page. If you are a fan of Louise Penny (and who isn’t?), Leon should be on your short list.”―BookPage
“As usual the mystery takes a back seat to Leon’s beautiful writing and the pleasure of spending time with Brunetti and company . . . Readers can trust her to guide them safely to dry land.”―Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries:
“[Leon] has never become perfunctory, never failed to give us vivid portraits of people and of Venice, never lost her fine, disillusioned indignation.”―Ursula K. LeGuin, New York Times
“You become so wrapped up in these compelling characters . . . Each one is better than the last.”―Louise Erdrich, PBS NewsHour
“Donna Leon’s Venetian mysteries never disappoint, calling up the romantic sights and sounds of La Serenissima even as they acquaint us with the practical matters that concern the city’s residents.”―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
“Few detective writers create so vivid, inclusive, and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon . . . One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever.”―Washington Post
“The sophisticated but still moral Brunetti, with his love of food and his loving family, proves a worthy custodian of timeless values and verities.”―Wall Street Journal
“[Leon] uses the relatively small and crime-free canvas of Venice for rips about Italian life, sexual styles and―best of all―the kind of ingrown business and political corruption that seems to lurk just below the surface.”―Chicago Tribune
“Hers is an unusually potent cocktail of atmosphere and event.”―New Yorker
“For those who know Venice, or want to, Brunetti is a well-versed escort to the nooks, crannies, moods, and idiosyncrasies of what residents call La Serenissima, the Serene One . . . Richly atmospheric, [Leon] introduces you to the Venice insiders know.”―USA Today
“Donna Leon is the undisputed crime fiction queen . . . Leon’s ability to capture the social scene and internal politics [of Venice] is first-rate.”―Baltimore Sun
“Terrific at providing, through its weary but engaging protagonist, a strong sense of the moral quandaries inherent in Italian society and culture.”―San Francisco Chronicle
“Brunetti is one of the most attractive policemen in crime fiction today.”―Philadelphia Inquirer
“As always, Brunetti is highly attuned to (and sympathetic toward) the failings of the humans around him.”―Seattle Times
“Leon’s writing trembles with true feeling.”―Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Leon started out with offhand, elegant excellence, and has simply kept it up.”―Guardian
“Compassionate yet incorruptible, Brunetti knows that true justice doesn’t always end in an arrest or a trial.”―Publishers Weekly
“[Brunetti] is a superb police detective―calm, deliberate, and insightful as he investigates with a reflective thoroughness.”―Library Journal
“The appeal of Guido Brunetti, the hero of Donna Leon's long-running Venetian crime series, comes not from his shrewdness, though he is plenty shrewd, nor from his quick wit. It comes, instead, from his role as an Everyman . . . [his life is] not so different from our own days at the office or nights around the dinner table. Crime fiction for those willing to grapple with, rather than escape, the uncertainties of daily life.”―Booklist
“It’s difficult to describe the work of Donna Leon other than in superlatives . . . An annual blessing, a fine series―one of the finest (see what I mean) in the mystery (or any) genre . . . There are few reading joys that equal cracking the binding of a new Leon novel . . . If you have not experienced this world, so exotic and yet so familiar, you can pick up literally any volume in the series and begin a comfortable entry into Brunetti’s Venice.”―BookReporter
“One of the most popular crime series worldwide . . . While the Brunetti books, with their abundance of local color and gastronomic treats, appeal to the fans of the traditional mystery, Leon has something darker and deeper in mind.”―Life Sentence
“No author has delved into Venetian society quite like Leon, whose insider’s view shows how crime seeps throughout the city, touching all strata of society.”―Mystery Scene
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"Unto Us a Son is Given" is very much in the mode of the recent books in that its focus is on human folly, and specifically what motivates an elderly man to consider adopting a younger male friend (both men are gay), thus making him the titular heir to the former's considerable fortune. The older man's friends--he has many, including Commissario Brunetti and his family--are appalled at his intention as the adoptee-to-be has a highly shady reputation. The ramifications of the adoption eventually drive the crime that occurs midway through the novel. Author Leon provides a nice twist at the conclusion, as is a fitting punishment for the perpetrator.
For this reader, there was an agreeable, civilized vibe throughout the novel. The Brunetti household continues to be a solid, positive family unit. The relationship with Brunetti's in-laws ages like a bottle of great Brunello (or Barolo, if you prefer). Brunetti's troublesome boss shows a rare human side. Signorina Elletra adds sly humor and class to the scene. Eventually, the inevitable Italianate cynicism does make an appearance and, to be sure, it is accompanied by the tragedy that it portends. There is a kind of verbal shrug implied at the conclusion, implying that even the best of persons can be self-absorbed and unmindful of possible consequences.
I liked this novel very much, and enjoy author Leon's leans toward human tragedy even when it takes the sharpest edge off the crime element.
Oh, there's a murder rather late in the story, and while the reader knows who the killer must be, that doesn't prevent the inevitable climax from being deeply satisfying, a moment very much to be savored.
Another matter is one that Guido’s boss, Vice-Questore Patta, wants cleared up. Patta’s downstairs neighbor has an obnoxious eight-year old son who is extremely rude to Signora Patta, going so far as to call her despicable names, kick her groceries down the stairs, and even bang his schoolbag into her. Can Guido enlist the help of the brilliant Signorina Elletra Zorzi, an incomparable computer genius and formidable researcher, to find out more about the boy and his parents? The father, who is well-connected, refutes Signora Patta’s claims that his child is a menace and must be disciplined.
As fans of this series undoubtedly know, Brunetti is not a workaholic. He often sleeps late; eats delicious lunches and dinners prepared by his devoted wife, Paola; relies on Signorina Elletra to do most of his digging (she is arguably one of the most capable detectives in the book); and spends much of his leisure time reading and chatting with Paola. Guido is easygoing and an intellectual who relishes the ancient Greek and Roman classics. He is also compassionate, highly educated, a student of human nature, and savvy in his dealings with witnesses and suspects. Moreover, he usually manages to sidestep the machinations of his inept and duplicitous superiors.
This is a deliberately-paced novel in which the author demonstrates the consequences of greed, lust, anger, and selfishness. Another of Leon’s themes is the contrast between close-knit and loving relationships and those that are destructive and abusive. There are a few twists along the way, but the thin plot generates little suspense, and the conclusion is unsurprising. As always, Leon vividly describes the sights and sounds of Venice, alludes to the city’s social mores, and reminds us of the vast gulf between the affluent citizenry and those who barely get by. “Unto Us the Son is Given” is a light snack that is sometimes tasty, but ultimately leaves us wishing for more substantial fare.
Top international reviews
Having read all her previous stories and enjoyed them, I’m very sad to say this will be the last.
All the flavour of Venice's intricate social top dogs playing Brunetti like their toy. But he is too good for them and the book keeps us guessing until the last pages when it becomes obvious that we should have worked it out ourselves. The clues were there all along!
There is a cast of well established familiar characters to keep us entertained - including Brunnetti's outspoken wife Paula ( who manages to cook superb dishes at EVERY meal, despite being a full time lecturer), his teenage kids (who are growing up to be fine people) and Senora Elettra with her amazing computer skills; this is a captivating read from cover to cover.
Excellent service and delivery. Cannot fault.
I love the descriptions of the city and the wonderful meals they eat together.
Unlike some detective novels the crimes spring from the characters and surroundings of the criminal
This is not her best novel but still pretty wonderful
Thank you Donna for giving me so many happy hours spent vicariously in Venice