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By Its Cover

By Its Cover Few detective writers create so vivid inclusive and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever The Washington PostDonna Leon s critically acclaime

  • Title: By Its Cover
  • Author: Donna Leon
  • ISBN: 9780802122643
  • Page: 392
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Few detective writers create so vivid, inclusive and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever The Washington PostDonna Leon s critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting, the humanity of its charactersFew detective writers create so vivid, inclusive and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever The Washington PostDonna Leon s critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting, the humanity of its characters, and its fearlessness in exploring politics, morality, and contemporary Italian culture In the pages of Leon s novels, the beloved conversations of the Brunetti family have drawn on topics of art and literature, but books are at the heart of this novel in a way they never have been before.One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books After a round of questioning, the case seems clear the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university The only problem the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn t exist.As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent three years at the library reading the Fathers of the Church, turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.

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      Published :2019-04-02T15:12:27+00:00

    About "Donna Leon"

    1. Donna Leon

      Donna Leon born September 29, 1942, in Montclair, New Jersey is an American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti.Donna Leon has lived in Venice for over twenty five years She has worked as a lecturer in English Literature for the University of Maryland University College Europe UMUC Europe in Italy, then as a Professor from 1981 to 1999 at the american military base of Vicenza Italy and a writer Her crime novels are all situated in or near Venice They are written in English and translated into many foreign languages, although not, by her request, into Italian Her ninth Brunetti novel, Friends in High Places, won the Crime Writers Association Silver Dagger in 2000.Series Commissario Brunetti

    387 Comments

    1. I like these books, but I'm beginning to tire of Leon's increasing tendency to phone them in. This one concerns the theft and/or destruction of ancient, priceless books and manuscripts, a subject that should be close to my heart. Brunetti's apparent ignorance of the subject and his skillful questioning of those involved so he can make himself smart is handled well and gives the reader at least a smattering of knowledge. But there's nothing deep to this one. Leon presumes we all know all the back [...]


    2. Perhaps I'm simply tiring of Donna Leon's formula, but I found this book to plod along in a too predictable fashion. It has all the expected things of a Commissario Brunetti mystery, including descriptions that make one see Venice through Brunetti's eyes. His interactions with his family and the too clever Signorina Elettra, along with his love of Venetian food and Italian history are just rehashes of things that have happened in every other book in the series. In short, there was simply nothing [...]


    3. It’s set in Venice. Much time is spent thinking about drinking coffee or actually drinking coffee. Much of the rest of the time is devoted the consumption of delicious meals. The crime? Well that’s all about books. It ticks most of my boxes – what’s not to like!I look forward each April to the latest instalment of Donna Leon’s ruminations on the foibles and customs of this wonderful city, all dressed up as a detective novel. The crime always pays second fiddle to Venice and its people, [...]


    4. If Italy is the capital of the slow food movement, then Donna Leon fits right in with her Brunetti series which takes place in Venice. Like her other books, this one opens slowly as the reader puts one piece of the puzzle in after another. There are so many delicious asides - such as nearly a whole page devoted to Brunetti's gray suit. Then there are the domestic scenes with his wife, Paola and their two children. The book takes place in the spring. This was, for me, very appropriate. As Brunett [...]


    5. I do love Guido Brunetti, but get increasingly tired of Leon’s inability to get background information conveyed by any means other than making him appear a simpleton with the need to ask his wife, his relatives, Signorina Elettra, and victims for information about Venice that any Venetian over the age of 5 would know. Apparently she has decided that dialogue beats exposition any day of the week, even if it’s ridiculous to think Brunetti doesn’t already know these things.On the other hand, [...]


    6. I love the Commissario Brunetti stories. I look forward to a new book the way children look forward to Christmas morning. My expectations for Donna Leon are high, so that's perhaps why I was disappointed here. The book feels flimsy in comparison to the others in the series. The characters are flat, the story less developed, and the ending, well, I won't give it away, but I was left dissatisfied. There were few references to food, and rather than drooling over her lush descriptions of Paola's coo [...]


    7. Donna Leon's love of books and literature has shone in her Inspector Brunetti mysteries, especially through the character of Brunetti's wife, Paola. In By Its Cover, books as objects are at the heart of the story's mystery.Because this is a Brunetti story, in which differences matter, a distinction is made between books as art objects and the text contained on the pages of those objects. For rich collectors, the objects have more value. For the Brunettis, who live a book-strewn life in which vol [...]


    8. The Biblioteca Merula in Venice has experienced a terrible desecration: a number of valuable old books have been stolen and others have had pages cut out. When Commissario Guido Brunetti investigates, Dottoressa Fabbiani - the chief librarian - tells him an American scholar, Dr. Joseph Nickerson, had been reading the cut up books. Brunetti also learns that another ardent reader, former priest Aldo Franchini, has been coming to the library for years to read 'Fathers of the Church'. Before long Br [...]


    9. (Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy)How can you NOT like a Donna Leon/Commissario Brunetti novel? They are great books, and like it's predecessors, By It's Cover does not disappoint.The story takes us into the Biblioteca Merula, a prestigious Venetian library. Commissario Brunetti gets a call from the librarian that several books have been vandalized, pages cut out of them. The books are priceless historical books, and the library is devastated at what's happened. At first it seems like so [...]


    10. Vivo en una ciudd pequeña arrasada periódicamente por los turistas. Sustituyo el agua de la laguna por el verde la hierba y ya puedo hacerme una idea de lo que es vivir en Venecia, aunque lejos del esplendor pasado de San Marcos. A Brunetti puedo imaginármelo como el vecino con el que coincido en el bar tomando un café a media mañana, comentando el periódico local con triste ironía. Por eso me gusta la serie de Donna Leon, porque sus personajes son reales: tienen un comportamiento natural [...]


    11. One of the better entries in this series. Someone is stealing rare books and slicing illustrations from others in the Merula library. Suspect turns out not to be who he claims to be in spite of impeccable identification--an American professor doing research. Then follows the murder of another long-time patron--a man who sits in the library all day reading Church Fathers. Good mystery with some facts about rare books and their market. As a retired librarian, I had to read this one. A quick, enjoy [...]


    12. The theft and destruction of books at the Girolamini Library in Naples forms the basis for Donna Leon's newest Commissario Brunetti's mystery, By its Cover. This sort of theft which appears to be recurring with some regularity could form the basis for a fascinating, complex tales with many layers and facets. Yet from its inception, this latest tale feels more like an episode of "Law & Order"'s "ripped from the headlines" procedural than a standalone mystery. In Venice, the Biblioteca Merula [...]


    13. Whenever I read the Brunetti series, it's like visiting an old friend. You're familiar with all the characters and their quirks, it's a pleasure to stroll through the "calles" with Brunetti, a delight to sit with his family and savor one of Paola's delicious meals. And it's always nice to meet up with Senorina Elettra, Vice-Questore Patta, Vianello, etc. In other words, you know what to expect.I think if it wasn't for the way Donna Leon brings her characters to life as well as her vivid portraya [...]


    14. I received this book for free through First Reads. Thanks for providing me with a copy.I read the Donna Leon books not for their plot, but for the look in the Commisario's family life and the atmosphere of Venice. This book provides both of that, plus a lovely setting. Enjoyable.


    15. As usual Donna Leon presents us with a subtle, understated mystery with an underlying theme of the insidious destruction of the Venetian heritage.


    16. Meh. I didn't dislike it, but I can't say I'm satisfied with this book. The characters were all too flat, Brunetti seemed unusually ignorant and slow and the ending was too simple.


    17. The last Donna Leon I am going to waste my time reading. Very thin and without a lot of the usual colour. Think the time has come to retire the Commissario!


    18. Another deeply enjoyable Donna Leon novel, dotted with the sardonic observations at which the author excels. I particularly enjoyed her opening salvo: An altercation between two water taxi drivers over a fare to the airport leaves one injured and the American passengers missing their flight.Brunetti knew, but could not prove, what had happened: the porter had waved to a passing taxi so that he, instead of the concierge, would get a percentage of the fare. The consequences were evident: no one wo [...]


    19. Reading a Guido Brunetti book by Dona Leon is like running into an old friend and realizing that the intervening time hasn't lessened your friendship. This is very much a character driven story. The crimes, theft of rare books and a murder, are secondary to Brunetti's professional, family and social interactions. I felt the story dragged a little in spots but never enough to make the book less enjoyable. In this case, some rare books and pages from others are stolen from a private library by wha [...]


    20. Before talking about the novel itself, I want to mention the awful job done by the publisher. The typography in the US edition, published by Grove Atlantic, was among the worst I have ever seen. It looked like it was done by a not especially gifted high school student. The choice of font was pretty questionable, and the publisher seems not to know the difference between apostrophes and proper quotes: apostrophes are the only form of "quote" characters used anywhere in the book. This is ridiculou [...]


    21. First Sentence: It had been a tedious Monday, much of it spent with the written witness statements about a fight between two taxi drivers that had sent one of them to the hospital with a concussion and a broken right arm.Someone is stealing pages from some rare books as well as stealing whole books as well from a prestigious library in Venice. Their one possible witness is an ex-priest who has been coming to the library for years. It quickly becomes clear to Commissario Guido Brunetti that the m [...]


    22. Commissario Brunetti of the Venice Questura, the best read detective in fiction (as long as you only count books written before, say, 500 AD) finally has a bibliomystery worthy of his talents. The Biblioteca Merula, a library in Venice home to a magnificent collection of rare and valuable books, has discovered that books are missing and many others have pages removed. This is based on real events in Italy, many of whose libraries have been systematically looted in recent years. This of course pr [...]


    23. There was a period a few years back when I stopped reading Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries. They seemed to be about everything except a mystery. Although I enjoy reading about different occupations, for instance, or social issues, when reading a mystery, I still am there mainly for a good puzzle and a good story. Fortunately, Leon seems to have developed a way of writing about the myriad of topics she is interested in, and still write puzzling mysteries with plenty of atmosphere for [...]


    24. This Brunetti book was definitely not my favorite. It was bland compared to most of her other mysteries. All the action (non-action) centered around the theme (rare book theft) and rather ignored all the usual cast of characters. Not much happened. Brunetti, himself, was rather boring -- not particularly clever. It's as if Leon was only interested in the theme of the day instead of the colorful and clever people that usually weave their way into the life of an equally clever inspector. And, all [...]


    25. Who would steal a rare book from a library? Or worse, remove the illustrations or maps in the book? That is the question Commissario Guido Brunetti faces when he takes a call from the Venetian library. Even before the extent of the loss is known, Brunetti is on the case, assuming that it is a single man: a supposed American university professor.His one hope is a former priest who also frequently visits the library. Perhaps he saw something that can help the police track down the criminal. All to [...]


    26. I must admit that I'd read anything written by Donna Leon, but that said, I think By It's Cover is one of the best Guido Brunetti books.If you happen to be a rare book librarian or just a lover of old books and if you care about the question of the text or the way it is conveyed, this is the Brunetti for you.Which is NOT to say that it is didactic at all. There are a couple of lovely scenes with Brunetti and his Prof. of American Lit wife; scenes between Brunetti and various people who work at t [...]


    27. For a librarian on school holidays, with a penchant for crime fiction, a soft spot for Donna Leon and a fascination with Italy, what could be better than a Brunetti mystery set in a Venetian library? Perfect holiday fare. Is it her best book? No. Does it continue to give glimpse of life in Venice and a man happily married? Yes. Does it continue to show the foibles of human nature? Yes. Do we see all our old favourite characters? Yes. So it's a solid 3 stars.It was refreshing, for once in a crime [...]


    28. I'm stunned. Somewhere in the middle of this story (OK, perhaps more than half-way), Leon just suddenly abandoned it. Not only did she not make any attempt to solve the original art-theft crime (which I can understand – that's not the sort of case that Commisario Guido Brunetti usually has to solve), but she wrapped up the murder case that developed from it by finding a possible murder weapon. Period. No motive, not even a confirmation that it really was the weapon.I reserve one-star ratings f [...]


    29. It is always a pleasure to return to Venice and the Brunetti family (in which I include the in-laws and Signorina Elettra) and the topic of this one is timely (following the theft of rare books from the library in Naples). Unusually, there is no dead body until about half-way through the book, so it's a more leisurely pace than we are used to even from other Donna Leon books. The ending was rather abrupt and left me somewhat dissatisfied. So perhaps not the strongest entrant in the series, but s [...]


    30. Many of Leon's books are sad, but this one even more so. The hopelessness of the killer, the corruption of Venice & Rome, the obsequiousness of Patta to his social superiors, the general stupidity of Gianni & other criminals. Maybe I should be grateful for the stupidity - it makes them more vulnerable to the police.I do enjoy seeing the love for his wife Paola in Brunetti, and the affection of her parents for their daughter & him, and his respect for her intelligence.


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