A Noble Radiance Paperback – Feb 24 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Providing insight into Venetian society through the lens of a gripping intellectual mystery, this atmospheric tale from Leon (Uniform Justice, etc.) finds Inspector Guido Brunetti investigating an aristocratic family with a shady past. When a rural landowner discovers the body of Roberto Lorenzoni, who was kidnapped two years earlier, Brunetti immediately suspects the victim's family. The Lorenzoni clan bears the legacy of betraying the Jews of Venice during World War II, and from these ashes, its members have created a thriving enterprise. Roberto's cousin Maurizio, who's next in line to inherit the family fortune and business, is the logical suspect, but Brunetti senses something more insidious at play. As he works his way through Italian three-course meals and family crises, he uncovers disturbing details about the Lorenzoni family. Leon deftly depicts the tensions between Brunetti and his ambitious Sicilian boss, as well as the irony of the justice system ("Imprisoned parricides receive fan mail; officialdom and Mafia dance hand in hand toward the ruin of the state"). Brunetti emerges as an intelligent, somewhat world-weary individual who believes in his cause if not the system itself. In short, he's the ideal protagonist for this culturally rich mystery.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
"An evocative peep into the dark underworld of the beauteous city." (Time Out, London)
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Top Customer Reviews
sure-winner in her Commissario Guido Brunetti series, Leon once again masterminds a plot, setting, and unforgettable characters in a must-read book.
In "A Noble Radiance," Leon shows what a master she is in establishing a grappling narrative hook, an absorbing
plot filled with dangerous curves, pitfalls, and landmines, and a theme that at once is contemporary and yet for all
time. The novel begins with the discovery of a badly decomposed body in a lonely farmfield in the north of Italy, and,
as her previous novels have it, Brunetti is given the case.
Just as he suspects, the body belongs to a kidnapped young man, the noble heir to a considerable estate. It is
Brunetti's responsibility to bring the news to the young man's family. Realist that he is, Brunetti is quick to find that,
indeed, something is rotten in the land of the nobili, and from this point on, the reader is led--even carried--to the
conclusion. The conclusion, however, appears a bit weak, albeit quite satisfying, I suppose, as Leon's endings usually
have a way of being far more thought- provoking.
Still, the book is well-worth the time spent--unfortunately, the time goes all too fast when reading Leon; one has the
tendency to wish they would keep on going, as they are, indeed, so mesmerizing. She has created such memorable
characters, most notably Brunetti, who has such a noble philosophy. It is almost as if he is a salmon without a stream,
as his ideals, his honesty, his concept of right and wrong seem at odds with today's sense of morality, whether it be
Italian politics or not.Read more ›
A Noble Radiance is an absolutely lovely book. Venice is beautifully described, i want to visit the city. It is very rare to find a book so rich in culture. (Also, the idea that the police of Venice have enough money spare form their budget to buy new flowers for the offices every week is an exquisitely romantic one)
I would reccomend Donna Leon to everyone. I can't believe i've been missing out for so long.
Ms. Leon takes a long time to set up the mystery. Then, she has the investigation proceed very slowly as well. That would be fine if the resolution was interesting, unexpected, and credible. But to me, the resolution was nonsense: It just didn't ring true.
With much of the story taking place outside of Venice, there's not as much of the local color as usual. The best parts of the story relate to Guido Brunetti's father-in-law warning him about Guido's marriage to Paola, eating Chira's first dinner she's cooked for the family, and exploring Signorina Elletra's seemingly contradictory morals about getting secret information and making public investments.
Here's the set-up: A house and garden have fallen into ruin because the heirs are squabbling until a German buys the place for a huge sum and starts fixing it up. While the garden is being tilled, a bone sticks up that turns out to be human. As the police dig around, they also find a ring with the crest of a noble Venetian family, the Lorenzoni family, best known in recent times for having sold out the location of Venice's Jews to the SS during World War II. The family's son had been kidnapped two years earlier, and he was never found. When the autopsy shows a bullet hole in the skull of a young man, Commissario Guido Brunetti looks for a dental match. Finding one, he now has reason to dig into the kidnapping, looking for murderers.
The Lorenzonis have taken on their lost son's cousin as their heir. Was he involved? Why else had a motive?
As you finish this book, think about what the purpose of a family should be.
Most recent customer reviews
I share the positive thoughts with the fans of this series. I just plain love Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2007 by Toni Osborne
I came across this novel purely by accident, purchased it, and finished it within 4 hours. I could not put it down. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003 by Shari Hoover