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Beastly Things: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery Hardcover – Apr 3 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
It takes away the life of its owners." -- Proverbs 1:19 (NKJV)
Unlike many mystery writers, Donna Leon seems to be getting better and better in this series. Her glimpses behind the tourist sites into the venality of Venice reach a new height in Beastly Things. Do be prepared for ugliness of the sort that even crime novels don't often reach . . . that may upset you, her purpose, I'm sure.
Commissario Guido Brunetti leads a murder investigation into a dead man with an unusual disease who is found in the canals. It takes awhile to establish his identity, and the plot picks up steam from there. The ugliness connects to how human weakness leads to evil doing, even by the police as Brunetti and Vianello grow ever too comfortable with Signorina Elletra's illegal electronic ways. Perhaps no Brunetti novel better captures the moral message of what sin does to the perpetrators . . . and to those who come into contact with them.
What I liked best was the way Ms. Leon captured the venality of what crime often amounts to, a greedy desire to have more regardless of the consequences. If you have a queasy stomach, be prepared for a powerfully written description of what happens in some slaughterhouses. You may find yourself eating more vegetables.
It starts with a body found in a canal; stabbed to death, no wallet and wearing only one shoe. His physical structure should make him fairly easy to identify, and does. A man who loves animals and is separated from his wife who seems not to particularly care that her husband is dead. But it is the man's secondary profession which raises questions, not only about the murder, but about the politics and ethics of being Italian.
Let's start with the fact that I love the map on the inside covers. Maps are wonderful things. They accentuate the sense of place and allow you to 'walk' with the characters.
Now let's talk about Leon and how wonderful is her style and voice. 'If a man who always lies tells someone he is a liar, is he telling the truth? If no one is alive in a room, is the room empty?' it is not only Leon's narrative that is compelling, but her dialogue, which has a natural flow and intelligence particularly, in this book between Brunetti and Signorina Elettra, one of the most intriguing character currently being written. Brunetti is a true Venetian. He loves his city, his family and his food. He doesn't understand how people can stand living where they need cars. He recognizes the pervasive dishonesty in the ways things are done, even in himself.
Usually, the descriptions of food usually leave the reader hungry. However, in this book rather than compelling you to the kitchen, it could forever change what you eat. There is an extensive scene which may leave readers extremely uncomfortable, however, it is factual and shows how easily greed can dominate ethics.
The story is, as always, extremely well written.Read more ›
If you are a sensitive person just be advised that there is a scene describing how farm animals are slaughtered but you can skipped that scene and not worry about missing anything.
Most recent customer reviews
I am an avid fan of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti novels. I relish these books because I am made to feel a sly observer of the culture of Venice, the workings of the police... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Julia Williamson
A very enjoyable, nuanced look at a most topical situation. Multi-faceted, as usual, the complexity of which is belied by it's ease of presentation.Published 23 months ago by Leigh currier
Beastly Things, to my mind, is one of Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti's best, most thoughtful outings. Read morePublished on May 11 2013 by Stephanie Smith