Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon

About the book

Early one morning Guido Brunetti, Commissario of the Venice Police, confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young man is fished out of a fetid Venetian canal. All the clues point to a violent mugging, but for Brunetti, robbery seems altogether too convenient a motive. Then something very incriminating is discovered in the dead man’s flat – something which points to the existence of a high-level cabal – and Brunetti becomes convinced that somebody, somewhere, is taking great pains to provide a ready-made solution to the crime …

Reviewed by Bookends

“An easy read; varied opinions within the group as to the predictability of the plot; depth of characters. Informative in American / Italian relationships and disposal of toxic waste”

star rating **

 

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Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

About the book

The celebrated opera house, La Fenice, has seen its share of death. But nothing so horrific and violent as that of conductor, Maestro Helmut Wellauer, poisoned during a performance of La Traviata. Can Commissario Guido Brunetti solve the crime?

Reviewed by Firgrove Ladies

The evocative atmosphere of Venice as described in this book added drama to the story. This is her first book of her character who is a very likeable and plausible detective. The story unravelled at the same pace as the investigation; left us wanting to read more. A good read.

Star rating: ****

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The Remedy by Michelle Lovric

About the book

In this darkly beautiful and hauntingly vivid novel, Michelle Lovric, acclaimed author of The Floating Book, embarks on an unforgettable journey through the winding alleys and shadowy streets of eighteenth-century Venice and London. With vibrant prose, she weaves together the stories of three disparate yet intertwined characters who find themselves embroiled in a world of murder and secrets. There is Mimosina Dolcezza, the Venetian actress employed as an agente provocatrice by surreptitious European power brokers. By fortune and circumstance, she begins an affair with the elusive Valentine Greatrakes, a roguish fixture within London’s medical underworld. Complicating matters for the pair is the presence of the eccentric and strange child-woman Pevenche, a figure whose fate and identity lie at the heart of the book’s mystery. Following this shadowy group from the dark environs of London’s Bankside to the lively streets of Venice, The Remedy guides us through playhouses, brothels, and convents with luscious details that breathe intoxicating life into the era. Long-listed for the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, The Remedy is a seductive and suspenseful tale that stays with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Reviewed by  Ecchinswell Reading Group:

Most members found this a page turner. Mixed levels of enjoyment due to gritty nature of the subject matter. Lots of descriptive content and historical fact – well researched. It was a good book for a reading group, provoking mixed reactions and good discussions.

Star rating: ***

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Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin

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About the book

Among the emerging generation of crime writers, none is as stylish and intelligent as Michael Dibdin, who, in Dead Lagoon, gives us a deliciously creepy new novel featuring the urbane and skeptical Aurelio Zen, a detective whose unenviable task it is to combat crime in a country where today’s superiors may be tomorrow’s defendants.Zen returns to his native Venice. He is searching for the ghostly tormentors of a half-demented contessa and a vanished American millionaire whose family is paying Zen under the table to determine his whereabouts-dead or alive. But he keeps stumbling over corpses that are distressingly concrete: from the crooked cop found drowned in one of the city’s noisome “black wells” to a brand-new skeleton that surfaces on the Isle of the Dead. The result is a mystery rich in character and deduction, and intensely informed about the history, politics, and manners of its Venetian setting.

Reviewed by Alton Library Thursday Group:

Mixed feelings and assessments of the book. Good descriptions of Venice, if a bit repetitive. Some development of character. Plot convoluted, interesting but a bit slow.

Star rating: **

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