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A Noble Radiance [Paperback]

Donna Leon
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 24 2009
The seventh crime novel featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti and set in Venice. The new owner of a farmhouse in a small village at the foot of the Dolomites disturbs a macabre grave, and sets in train a murder investigation. A vital piece of evidence leads to the heart of aristocratic Venice.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"In her detective novels with Commissario Brunetti, Donna Leon can paralyse the reader with a joyful suspense, lost in the environs of Venice and hopelessly in love with her central character and his wife" Mail on Sunday "The marvel of this book is that almost every detail on every page forms part of a succession of clues, planted with exquisite precision, to unravelling the mystery" Sunday Times "Goes a long way to confirming Donna Leon's claim to have taken literary possession of Venice ... A Noble Radiance gives the reader a delightful foretaste of the summer holidays to come, but it also offers much more than that" Independent on Sunday

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK... May 2 2013
By Pat the cat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the 2nd book that I read by this author. This story takes place in and near Venice and it follows the efforts of Constable Brunetti to solve the kidnapping/murder of a young man belonging to a prominent and wealthy family. It's a good police mystery with a surprising ending. But, be forewarn, the pace is very slow and the author wastes a lot of time dwelling on unimportant details and the mundane actions of its main character (e.g., mentioning how he drinks his coffee, how he walks into buildings, how he walks to his office. etc. -- so superfluous, clearly filler text...). And, I was a little disappointed that Venice wasn't the main centre of this novel -- it's my favourite city in Europe and it's the only reason that I read Leon's books..... So, unlike the glowing reviews from her die-hard fans, I would give this novel only 3 stars out of 5 (good).
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's a shame that A Noble Radiance is cast as a mystery. Take the need to solve the mystery out, and this would be an above-average novel about contemporary families in Venice.

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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Aug. 1 2007
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I share the positive thoughts with the fans of this series. I just plain love Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti. He is an interesting and charming character and the adventures he faces are always captivating and thrilling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery novel! Jan. 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I came across this novel purely by accident, purchased it, and finished it within 4 hours. I could not put it down. This was a very well-written mystery and I am thrilled to know there are other books about Commissario Guido Brunetti. I obviously read this slightly out of order with her other Brunetti books, but this was written with no other knowledge of the Commissario needed. The book was self-contained and was a fine read. I have already ordered the rest of her books.
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