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Fatal Remedies [Mass Market Paperback]

Donna Leon
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 25 2007 Commissario Guido Brunetti
Donna Leon's multitude of fans around the world has grown with each new Commissario Brunetti novel, and now mystery lovers in the United States can enjoy another compelling episode. In Fatal Remedies, Brunetti's career is under threat when his professional and personal lives unexpectedly intersect. In the chill of the Venetian dawn, a sudden act of vandalism shatters the quiet of the deserted city, and Brunetti is shocked to find that the culprit waiting to be apprehended at the scene is a member of his own family. Meanwhile, he is also under pressure from his superiors to solve a daring robbery with connections to a suspicious accidental death. Could the two crimes be connected? And will Brunetti be able to prove his family's innocence before it's too late?


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Review

"One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever"
-The Washington Post

"No one knows the labyrinthine world of Venice . . . like Leon's Brunetti."
-Time

"[Brunetti's] humane police work is disarming, and his ambles through the city are a delight."
- The New York Times Book Review

"The sophisticated but still moral Brunetti, with his love of food and his loving family, proves a worthy custodian of timeless values and verities."
-The Wall Street Journal

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. It was after a period in Saudi Arabia, which she found ‘damaging physically and spiritually’ that Donna decided to move to Venice, where she has now lived for over twenty years.

Her debut as a crime fiction writer began as a joke: talking in a dressing room in Venice’s opera-house La Fenice after a performance, Donna and a singer friend were vilifying a particular German conductor. From the thought ‘why don’t we kill him?’ and discussion of when, where and how, the idea for Death at La Fenice took shape, and was completed over the next four months.

Donna Leon is the crime reviewer for the London Sunday Times and is an opera expert. She has written the libretto for a comic opera, entitled Dona Gallina. Set in a chicken coop, and making use of existing baroque music, Donna Gallina was premiered in Innsbruck. Brigitte Fassbaender, one of the great mezzo-sopranos of our time, and now head of the Landestheater in Innsbruck, agreed to come out of retirement both to direct the opera and to play the part of the witch Azuneris (whose name combines the names of the two great Verdi villainesses Azucena and Amneris).


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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Does Not Miss a Beat March 1 2008
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A sudden act of vandalism had just been committed, a rock thrown in anger through the window of a building. Commissario Brunetti finds out that the culprit apprehended at the scene is none other than his wife Paola Brunetti. When a daring robbery with Mafia connections is linked to the suspicious death of the owner of the same building, Brunetti finds himself in a conflict of interest. Torn between the crisis at home and the pressure at work, will Brunetti be able to prove Paola's innocence?

Donna Leon's never is one to dodge social and contemporary issues, in this novel Brunetti is once again forced to confront moral and legal dilemmas."Fatal Remedies" does not miss a beat this one faces issues on sex-tourism and the exportation of medicines long past their expiry dates. As always, the author's view of Italian life and Brunetti's family values are central to the fabric of this book. Although I found this book is good it is not Leon's best work, nevertheless it stands above others of the same genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good, true police procedural Dec 8 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First Sentence: The woman walked quietly into the empty campo.

Comm. Guido Brunetti is in a difficult position. It is his job to uphold the law. However, his wife, Professor Paola Brunetti, wants to stop a local travel agency from running sex tours for men. She demonstrates her cause by vandalizing the agency. With added pressure from above to solve a robbery and murder with possible Mafia connections, Brunetti is concerned both about his relationship with his wife and his career.

A book that starts without a prologue but with an unexpected, intriguing opening will always capture my interest and Leon wrote a great first chapter with 'Fatal Remedies.' But there are so many things to which I look forward, and enjoy, from Leon.

Her characters are wonderful. Brunetti has a very normal family with normal conflicts, even when they are demonstrated in not-so-normal ways. I appreciate his seeming pragmatism and understanding that his job is to uphold the law, which is not always just. The wonderful, smart and enigmatic Signorina Elettra is endlessly fascinating, for Brunetti as well as for the reader.

Leon creates a rich sense of place through sensory descriptions of sight, sound and particularly, smell. She also uses humor and introspection well''There are days when I think everything's getting worse, then there are days when I know they are. But then the sun comes out and I change my mind.'

In spite of the light moments, Leon always reminds us that this is a true police procedural in which there is violence and tragedy. Well done, Ms. Leon.

FATAL REMEDIES (Pol Proc-Insp. Guido Brunetti-Italy-Cont) ' VG
Leon, Donna ' 8th in series
Arrow Books, orig. ©1999, UK Paperback ' ISBN: 9780099269304A very good, true police procedural
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Mystery That Will Trouble Your Conscience Dec 11 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Part of the appeal of mysteries is that we can enter a world of intrigue, evil-doers, and hidden secrets without any personal danger or discomfort . . . except for the occasional grisly detail. Donna Leon challenges that formula by raising a question of conscience in Fatal Remedies that will probably leave you squirming: I know it had that effect on me.

What would you do to stop a moral wrong that's being perpetuated in front of you? Unless taking a stand is unavoidable, most people simply ignore the whole thing. That's clearly not the case for Commissario Guido Brunetti's professor wife, Paola, who makes life difficult for everyone in the family by protesting in a violent way.

The moral dilemma is raised to another height when it appears that Paola's act may have had unintended consequence. After you finish this book, think about what you should do about the same moral dilemma with regard to something that's legal . . . but highly immoral.

By bringing Paola's personality into the story in greater ways, Fatal Remedies is enriched with a more interesting set of questions. If you are like me, you'll be especially amused to see how Guido reacts to moral issues about doing illegal things to bring wrong-doers to justice. You'll quickly see that there are two sides to the coin of does the end justify the means.

The ultimate mystery is solved in the second half of the book where the condensation does no harm to making a good story.

I listened to the unabridged Blackstone Audio version of Fatal Remedies that is read by Anna Fields. I recommend that you avoid this audio. Although Ms. Fields can speak quite good Italian as she demonstrates on the audio, she chooses to render the male characters in English as though they were from the country in the U.S.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donna Leon leads a high mystery parade! May 7 2008
By Billy J. Hobbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Donna Leon's eighth novel in her Commissario Guido Brunetti series is another crown of glory for this American writer. In "Fatal Remedies," Leon, ever the one to keep her readers' absolute attention riveted to all details, continues her intriguing mise en scene mysteries with sharp focus, clarity of detail, and powerful character observations. This book is well worth the wait.

Leon begins with a new twist: Brunetti's wife Paola has been arrested for smashing the window of a travel agency which she knows arranges sex-tours to third-world countries where Westerners exploit, especially, the child-for-sex trade. This is an issue which Paola finds she cannot permit to go unnoticed, having two children of her own. Like Antigone, her sense of moral outrage at an issue the state does nothing about extends to the point where she takes the law into her own hands. Through her personal crusade, she hopes to call attention to this social canker and, with public outrage she hopes to generate this evil will be halted. She believes that she is prepared to take the consequences for her own actions. It is not so simple, she finds out. Unfortunately, she discovers that her own crusade has negative ramifications for her family and that instead of halting one injustice, she appears to be compounding another by hurting the ones she loves....Brunetti is called back to work and the chase begins.

Brunetti, whose passion for truth, justice, equality, and respect for his beloved Venice, finds himself once again forced to confront moral and legal dilemmas. Leon is at her best and "Fatal Remedies" doesn't miss a beat as the pace picks up, page by page...Leon is not one to dodge social and contemporary issues, as her readers well know from previous books. Her views on environmental destruction (and how the Italian government and its citizens view the subject), social and political corruption, and such social issues as sex-tourism and the importation of former East Bloc citizens to work the local prostitution trade are readily identified. And the author is not timid in her criticism. It's not that she is indicting Italy and the Italians, but that these ills seem to be pervasive.

Leon, an American, lives in Venice and knows the Italians well, but she has lived in other countries (previously she had taught English at an American university at the Vicenza U.S. Army post) and is well versed on contemporary issues. And she loves Venice. Each of her novels tenders her feelings for the Most Serene Republic and readers cannot escape without feeling the life, the very essence of Venice, and her knowledge of that city's history and its ethnic origins make her books ring with a resonance that is real yet we know her story is "only a novel."

In "Fatal Remedies," Leon counts on her readers to assume much (in fact, a first-time reader may be confused by references that are clear only from having read earlier works), which is a shortcoming of individual works in such series; however, as "a part of the whole" this book works well and contains all the ingredients Leon has so successfully concocted in the past. The publisher tells us that she is currently working on a new installment. Shall we count the days?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Mystery That Will Trouble Your Conscience Dec 11 2007
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Part of the appeal of mysteries is that we can enter a world of intrigue, evil-doers, and hidden secrets without any personal danger or discomfort . . . except for the occasional grisly detail. Donna Leon challenges that formula by raising a question of conscience in Fatal Remedies that will probably leave you squirming: I know it had that effect on me.

What would you do to stop a moral wrong that's being perpetuated in front of you? Unless taking a stand is unavoidable, most people simply ignore the whole thing. That's clearly not the case for Commissario Guido Brunetti's professor wife, Paola, who makes life difficult for everyone in the family by protesting in a violent way.

The moral dilemma is raised to another height when it appears that Paola's act may have had unintended consequence. After you finish this book, think about what you should do about the same moral dilemma with regard to something that's legal . . . but highly immoral.

By bringing Paola's personality into the story in greater ways, Fatal Remedies is enriched with a more interesting set of questions. If you are like me, you'll be especially amused to see how Guido reacts to moral issues about doing illegal things to bring wrong-doers to justice. You'll quickly see that there are two sides to the coin of does the end justify the means.

The ultimate mystery is solved in the second half of the book where the condensation does no harm to making a good story.

I listened to the unabridged Blackstone Audio version of Fatal Remedies that is read by Anna Fields. I recommend that you avoid this audio. Although Ms. Fields can speak quite good Italian as she demonstrates on the audio, she chooses to render the male characters in English as though they were from the country in the U.S. south. This style particularly perturbed me because I had thought of Guido Brunetti as a refined person based on his reading tastes and subtle handling of boors. He comes across in this reading sounding much like Dean Robillard, the NFL quarterback in Natural Born Charmers which Ms. Field also read.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The petty crimes of Paola Brunetti Sept. 12 2006
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Paola Brunetti, the Commissario's brilliant and caring wife, goads him into doing something about the terrible problem of marketing child prostitutes to tourists and businessmen. Much to Guido's chagrin, however, the methods she uses to focus attention upon this atrocity are not quite within the law. Following the demands of his own conscience, however, Guido juggles personal and professional complications to try to see that justice is done, never an easy task when the Mafia and big money are involved.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donna Leon, Not a Gondola In Sight June 28 2008
By John F. Rooney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Donna Leon now makes Venice her home. In her mysteries, if you know Venice well, you'll have the thrill of rediscovery as she walks you through familiar campos, stroll by the Grand Canal, take a vaporetto to a destination, eat local pastries and foods. Her detective inspector hero is Commissario Brunetti who has a loving wife, two great kids, and a great home life, but is always at odds with his superiors. He likes those Venetian pastries and all the great food and seems lethargic, but he is far from being slow-witted.
In this outing his wife on two occasions as a protest throws a rock through the window of a travel agency that caters to sex tourists. This causes her husband great sorrow and embarrassment, but he is even more aggravated when a murder connected to her action takes place. The book's title is very appropriate to the plot.
In the beginning is the description of a clever game. When the staff attends boring meetings, they play buzz word bingo. When the meeting's chairman says a certain buzz word, they can relieve boredom by matching the buzz word up with specially prepared cards that have the buzz words instead of bingo numbers.
The narrative rolls along smoothly as the gentle, kindly, philosophical Brunetti copes with police work as well as the corruption and inefficiency of the Italian state. Brunetti says, "There are days when I think everything's getting worse, then there are days when I know they are. But then the sun comes out, and I change my mind."
This mystery has a very sharp depiction of the women characters and female psychology. It even has a gun fight. But in general Leon's mysteries have more reflection than action. This is one of her better efforts with a clear cut narrative. Venice is the key setting, but not as much of a character in this book as in some of her others. Little asides about the water damage and dampness in the hallways of buildings makes us realize how fragile the city's infrastructure is. Brunetti is an anti-hero that you come to like because he's an old-fashioned, amiable soul adrift in a society that has, in many ways, passed him by.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Mystery That Will Trouble Your Conscience Dec 11 2007
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Part of the appeal of mysteries is that we can enter a world of intrigue, evil-doers, and hidden secrets without any personal danger or discomfort . . . except for the occasional grisly detail. Donna Leon challenges that formula by raising a question of conscience in Fatal Remedies that will probably leave you squirming: I know it had that effect on me.

What would you do to stop a moral wrong that's being perpetuated in front of you? Unless taking a stand is unavoidable, most people simply ignore the whole thing. That's clearly not the case for Commissario Guido Brunetti's professor wife, Paola, who makes life difficult for everyone in the family by protesting in a violent way.

The moral dilemma is raised to another height when it appears that Paola's act may have had unintended consequence. After you finish this book, think about what you should do about the same moral dilemma with regard to something that's legal . . . but highly immoral.

By bringing Paola's personality into the story in greater ways, Fatal Remedies is enriched with a more interesting set of questions. If you are like me, you'll be especially amused to see how Guido reacts to moral issues about doing illegal things to bring wrong-doers to justice. You'll quickly see that there are two sides to the coin of does the end justify the means.

The ultimate mystery is solved in the second half of the book where the condensation does no harm to making a good story.

I listened to the unabridged Blackstone Audio version of Fatal Remedies that is read by Anna Fields. I recommend that you avoid this audio. Although Ms. Fields can speak quite good Italian as she demonstrates on the audio, she chooses to render the male characters in English as though they were from the country in the U.S. south. This style particularly perturbed me because I had thought of Guido Brunetti as a refined person based on his reading tastes and subtle handling of boors. He comes across in this reading sounding much like Dean Robillard, the NFL quarterback in Natural Born Charmers which Ms. Field also read.
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