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Through a Glass, Darkly

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Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories. On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arreste Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories. On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced by the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass factory owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti. Brunetti's curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? Then one morning the body of De Cal's night watchman is found. Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, in quiet bars, and down narrow streets, Brunetti searches for the killer. Will he unravel the clues before the night watchman's death is allowed to be forgotten? A fascinating novel set in the intersection between tourism and native Venetian society, Through a Glass, Darkly is Donna Leon at her finest.


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Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories. On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arreste Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories. On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced by the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass factory owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti. Brunetti's curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? Then one morning the body of De Cal's night watchman is found. Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, in quiet bars, and down narrow streets, Brunetti searches for the killer. Will he unravel the clues before the night watchman's death is allowed to be forgotten? A fascinating novel set in the intersection between tourism and native Venetian society, Through a Glass, Darkly is Donna Leon at her finest.

30 review for Through a Glass, Darkly

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex is The Romance Fox

    Donna Leon’s 15th book in her Commissario Brunetti Series and once again we are back in the beautiful city of Venice. It's springtime and Commissario Brunetti asked by his assistant, Vianello, to help him rescue his good friend who has being arrested for taking part in an environmental demonstration. But there may be more to the arrest and soon Brunetti and Vianelli become suspicious when they hear that someone might want to harm the friend. Most of the story takes place in the secret Donna Leon’s 15th book in her Commissario Brunetti Series and once again we are back in the beautiful city of Venice. It's springtime and Commissario Brunetti asked by his assistant, Vianello, to help him rescue his good friend who has being arrested for taking part in an environmental demonstration. But there may be more to the arrest and soon Brunetti and Vianelli become suspicious when they hear that someone might want to harm the friend. Most of the story takes place in the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories, where a murder of a furnace worker is discovered in one of the glass factories. Environmental concerns , pollution, corruption, politics, greed, vanity, food, family life, Dante's Inferno........and a fantastic and well-researched history of the age-old art of glass making. Signorina Elletra is just as fabulous and Vice-Questore Patta, Brunetti's boss, just as stupid and vain. I adore the way the characters have developed throughout this series. We have become very familiar with them. A new character, Paolo Foa, is introduced to replace the Questura's boat pilot, Bonsuan, who was killed in book #10 and he's quite an interesting character and I look forward to his future appearances. The plot was fairly slow - the actual murder doesn't take place until halfway through but we do get to enjoy the glassmaking information, the sunny spring days in Venice, eating and drinking and reading Dante's Inferno. An enjoyable addition.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Donna Leon has essentially given up on writing mysteries and/or police procedural books in favor of writing whatever's on her mind that day. This book is not a mystery - Brunetti wanders around for the first half of the book wasting police time even more egregiously than usual, until someone he's talking to is conveniently murdered - and it ends in the least satisfying way possible. As I've said before on far too many occasions, I luckily do not read the Brunetti books for their mysteries, but r Donna Leon has essentially given up on writing mysteries and/or police procedural books in favor of writing whatever's on her mind that day. This book is not a mystery - Brunetti wanders around for the first half of the book wasting police time even more egregiously than usual, until someone he's talking to is conveniently murdered - and it ends in the least satisfying way possible. As I've said before on far too many occasions, I luckily do not read the Brunetti books for their mysteries, but rather for passages like this: Brunetti found himself back in the court of the Emperor Heliogabalus, one of his favorite monsters. Ah, the excess of it, the violence, the utter corruption of everything and everyone. The lasagne had layers of ham and thin slices of artichoke hearts interleaved with layers of pasta that he suspected might have been home made. He would have preferred more artichokes. He shared his table with decapitated senators, evil counsellors, barbarians bent on the destruction of the empire. He took a sip of wine and ate another bite of lasagne. I know that this is not compelling reading for 99% of the people on this planet, but I EAT THIS UP. For whatever reason, these books tickle me and act as the perfect palate cleanser between two books I actually want to read. This book took me six days to finish, which would be alarming with any other mystery and/or novel but for Leon is par for the course. I can now safely move on from Navajo wars to YA steampunk. Favorite features of this installment include: - The time devoted to lunch at Nanni's on Murano, where the waiter is careful to recite the menu slowly only if you're with locals - The very enjoyable two pages in which Brunetti eats lunch with Gibbon (see above) - The long and detailed description of drinking done by Italian workmen, from un'ombra at 11 to the grappa before bedtime - The number of times Brunetti reflects on Veneziano vs. Italian, which to many older Venetians is a foreign language they don't care to speak - Signorina Elettra practicing English with Patta ("does this bus go to Hammersmith?") - The long, detailed descriptions of the glassblowers on Murano going about their business See you in a couple weeks, Leon!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    The fifteenth book in the Inspector Brunetti series is a much darker story than previous ones. Yes, there’s a little humor. But the tone itself is much bleaker. It’s also a much slower book than its predecessors. As with each of the books in the series, it tackles a serious subject, in this case industrial pollution. Brunetti helps Marco, a friend of Vianello’s, when he’s arrested during an environmental protest. Upon his release, they overhear Marco’s father-in-law making threats. The father-in The fifteenth book in the Inspector Brunetti series is a much darker story than previous ones. Yes, there’s a little humor. But the tone itself is much bleaker. It’s also a much slower book than its predecessors. As with each of the books in the series, it tackles a serious subject, in this case industrial pollution. Brunetti helps Marco, a friend of Vianello’s, when he’s arrested during an environmental protest. Upon his release, they overhear Marco’s father-in-law making threats. The father-in-law is a glass manufacturer in Murano. It’s a long while before there’s an actual crime, which is the murder of a night watchman at the factory. This was probably my least favorite of the series. Too slow, too ponderous and too serious. I still enjoy the characters , so I will continue with the series. But I can only hope it returns to more of the fun I remember from earlier books.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol Crawford

    I am hooked on Leon's series. Why? Her characters, and the powerfully visual way she evokes her environment. Commissario Brunetti , like all central detective characters, sets the tone of her works. He is human, humane, leads a normal home life, hates guns and violence, loves where he lives and deplores, like New Yorkers, the negative changes in his world and the onslaught of tourists. But most of all, he has an Italian "che sera, sera"...many of these mysteries are not resolved in favor of just I am hooked on Leon's series. Why? Her characters, and the powerfully visual way she evokes her environment. Commissario Brunetti , like all central detective characters, sets the tone of her works. He is human, humane, leads a normal home life, hates guns and violence, loves where he lives and deplores, like New Yorkers, the negative changes in his world and the onslaught of tourists. But most of all, he has an Italian "che sera, sera"...many of these mysteries are not resolved in favor of justice, and the bad guys often get away. they are gently philosophical, and filled with good recipes!...truly, they give the reader the full flavor of what it is like to live in Venice. And the stories are intriguing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    It's been a while since I've read something that gave me the opportunity to write a truly scathing review here. So if nothing else, I guess I should thank Donna Leon for writing this horribly ill-conceived addition to the Guido Brunetti series, and thereby giving me ample material to rake this book over the coals. This is my third Leon mystery, which I guess is a good thing: if this were the first Brunetti story I'd read, it would be enough to convince me that I should never pick up anything Don It's been a while since I've read something that gave me the opportunity to write a truly scathing review here. So if nothing else, I guess I should thank Donna Leon for writing this horribly ill-conceived addition to the Guido Brunetti series, and thereby giving me ample material to rake this book over the coals. This is my third Leon mystery, which I guess is a good thing: if this were the first Brunetti story I'd read, it would be enough to convince me that I should never pick up anything Donna Leon wrote ever again. This book should not have been written as a Guido Brunetti mystery. It's not even a detective novel - it's a half-assed environmental thriller that fails to thrill, or indeed cause any emotion other than mild annoyance at the fact that the characters are discussing pollution in Murano, again. It's true that there is a murder, so I guess you can technically classify this as detective fiction, but that doesn't mean there's any actual detecting going on. Take note, Leon: a corpse does not a detective novel make. John le Carre already did this ecological-thriller schtick with The Constant Gardener, and he did it better. (I say smugly, having only seen the movie) The pace is plodding, the story is boring, the characters are banal, and ends not with a bang, but a deeply disappointing and anticlimactic whimper. Commissario Brunetti deserved better.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristel

    Donna Leon writes lushly about a Venice in regal decay, with the urbane and likable Commissario Guido Brunetti as her main character, yet it was not until 158 pages in (halfway through the novel) that the crime the good detective was supposed to investigate even occurred. This, I think, encapsulates everything I found frustrating about Through a Glass, Darkly. I waffled between giving this book 3 or 2 stars on Goodreads because it really wasn’t an awful book. But as a mystery, it completely reneg Donna Leon writes lushly about a Venice in regal decay, with the urbane and likable Commissario Guido Brunetti as her main character, yet it was not until 158 pages in (halfway through the novel) that the crime the good detective was supposed to investigate even occurred. This, I think, encapsulates everything I found frustrating about Through a Glass, Darkly. I waffled between giving this book 3 or 2 stars on Goodreads because it really wasn’t an awful book. But as a mystery, it completely reneges on its promises. It’s as if the writer simply wanted to write a travelogue with Brunetti as the main character telegraphing his thoughts on the dangers of nuclear waste and its effect on a historical city such as Venice. The crime here is an afterthought. Read more of this review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    One of the things, of many things, I like about Donna Leon's series with Commissario Brunetti is the wonderful family parts of the stories. Brunetti's wife is intelligent and passionate about her beliefs which are sometimes at odds with her husband's. The children are smart and articulate. And the food is mouth watering. Another thing is the stories are always thought provoking. The main theme of Through a Glass Darkly is pollution and the environment. There is a murder that needs to be solved a One of the things, of many things, I like about Donna Leon's series with Commissario Brunetti is the wonderful family parts of the stories. Brunetti's wife is intelligent and passionate about her beliefs which are sometimes at odds with her husband's. The children are smart and articulate. And the food is mouth watering. Another thing is the stories are always thought provoking. The main theme of Through a Glass Darkly is pollution and the environment. There is a murder that needs to be solved and it may or may not have all its loose ends tied up neatly. The ongoing characters are so well described that I can see them in the room when Brunetti is with them. I've about read my way through the whole series and it always saddens me when I come to the end of a series and then have to wait awhile for the newest one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    As I gambol through Donna Leon's series I realize what an admirable friend the would make. After every disappointing novel, I seem to seek out one of her books because I enjoy spending time with them, so I realized how much I would like her at my dinner table. She clearly enjoys a few drinks and a good meal; She has an appreciation for subtle moral dilemmas and seems willing to ponder them; She clearly has a sense of humor (witness Signorina Elettra); and She has an interesting smattering of knowled As I gambol through Donna Leon's series I realize what an admirable friend the would make. After every disappointing novel, I seem to seek out one of her books because I enjoy spending time with them, so I realized how much I would like her at my dinner table. She clearly enjoys a few drinks and a good meal; She has an appreciation for subtle moral dilemmas and seems willing to ponder them; She clearly has a sense of humor (witness Signorina Elettra); and She has an interesting smattering of knowledge in many areas (or at least is capable of researching them well). All of these elements make her an author well worth spending a few hours with. I never care too much about the "mystery," it is the small world that she creates that is so intriguing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    Time for a trip to Venice to see what's happening with Commissario Guido Brunetti. It is spring in Venice and Guido is enjoying the early greening of the vegetation and the soft, sunny days of the season. He takes every opportunity he can to escape from his office at the Questura and bask in the sensual vernal pleasures. But, of course, as always happens, work has a way of interfering with Guido's pleasure. In this instance, it starts with his assistant Vianello asking him to intervene in a case i Time for a trip to Venice to see what's happening with Commissario Guido Brunetti. It is spring in Venice and Guido is enjoying the early greening of the vegetation and the soft, sunny days of the season. He takes every opportunity he can to escape from his office at the Questura and bask in the sensual vernal pleasures. But, of course, as always happens, work has a way of interfering with Guido's pleasure. In this instance, it starts with his assistant Vianello asking him to intervene in a case in which a friend of his who is an environmental activist has been arrested during a protest. It turns out there really is no case against the man, Ribetti, and he is released. But as they are leaving the police station they encounter the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, who is the owner of a glass factory in Murano. De Cal despises his son-in-law and is furious with him for being arrested. He takes Ribetti's environmental activism as a personal affront. He accosts his son-in-law and threatens him, as he has been known to do before. It's not clear whether De Cal is a man who would actually act on his threats of violence, but soon after, his night watchman is found dead under suspicious circumstances next to one of the factory furnaces. The night watchman had believed that harmful chemicals in the soil and water had been responsible for the disability of his little daughter and he had been investigating the soil and water around the glass factories to try to prove his theory. Had De Cal or the other owners considered him a threat that they had to get rid of? We know from experience that any case that Brunetti investigates is going to uncover a morass of corruption, both public and private, and that happens once again here. It turns out that some of the Murano glass factories, including De Cal's, have been evading regulations that were put in place to ensure that they were not poisoning the soil and water and inspectors had not discovered the infractions. It was left to people like the night watchman to ferret out the information and make it known. But the challenge for Brunetti is to prove that the man was murdered instead of dying by accident, or, failing that, to at least hold the factories accountable for their pollution and the danger they pose to public health. It's a tall order especially when the owners of the factories have powerful political allies, but Brunetti and Vianello are seasoned warriors in the battle with Italian bureaucracy. I found the plot of this entry in the Commissario Brunetti series to be particularly interesting and well-done, and I learned quite a bit about the ancient art of glass-making in the process of reading it. The characters, as usual, are well-drawn. Donna Leon has done a good job of keeping this long-running series fresh and entertaining. On the whole, I count this as one of the better reads in this series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    What a bore. As usual with these sorts of writers when they no longer have a plot in them they turn to political-social issues. In this case the relationship between pollution, glass-making and politics in Venice. It isn't that I totally don't want to read about these things, but if I do, I will not choose to do so via the conduit of a murder-mystery. So, no plot to speak of, and on top of that, dreadfully proofread. The book is laced with words hyp-henated for no rea-son whatsoever. I'm guessing What a bore. As usual with these sorts of writers when they no longer have a plot in them they turn to political-social issues. In this case the relationship between pollution, glass-making and politics in Venice. It isn't that I totally don't want to read about these things, but if I do, I will not choose to do so via the conduit of a murder-mystery. So, no plot to speak of, and on top of that, dreadfully proofread. The book is laced with words hyp-henated for no rea-son whatsoever. I'm guessing something was taken out or added and nobody bothered to check the impact on the type-setting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jane Greensmith

    As always this was a very enjoyable novel. Honestly, I don't read them for the mystery--I read them for the characters, the scenes in Venice, the food, and the human interest. As always this was a very enjoyable novel. Honestly, I don't read them for the mystery--I read them for the characters, the scenes in Venice, the food, and the human interest.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pat Hansbury

    Since I returned from Venice, I have three of the Guido Brunetti books. They are not great. Very light. But, Venice is the real star of the books. It is so much fun reading how Guido hops on and off the same boats I just took in Venice. In this book, he talks about eating at the same restaurant by the Grand Canal near Rialto Bridge where we ate our last night in Venice. So, they are light and fun.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    I have now read six of these mysteries. They are among the finest mystery novels I have ever read, sparkling with intelligence as well as a sensitive understanding of human nature and a thoroughly dark view of politics and government. Commissario Brunetti stands out as a sterling example of one man retaining his humanity amidst the chaos.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Once upon a time, these used to be fairly gripping murder mysteries... this one manages to ramble on for half the book before the actual murder occurs, and the investigation into it is rather half-assed as Leon is too busy talking about the problem of pollution and environmental hazards associated with the glass-making factories in Murano. Not that these aren't important issues, but a bit of a balance between the environmental theme and the mystery would have been nice. Once upon a time, these used to be fairly gripping murder mysteries... this one manages to ramble on for half the book before the actual murder occurs, and the investigation into it is rather half-assed as Leon is too busy talking about the problem of pollution and environmental hazards associated with the glass-making factories in Murano. Not that these aren't important issues, but a bit of a balance between the environmental theme and the mystery would have been nice.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I still can't decide if I like the Brunetti series, after reading about half of them. They are pretty constant in style and quality, and all of them have the same good points (interesting location, interesting and usually not pleasant characters) and less than good points (the intense hatred of everyone Sicilian or Sardinian, in every single book, every single time Brunetti talks to his rather racistically, by a northern Italian's eyes, boss, Patta, and every time there is ever anyone from Sicil I still can't decide if I like the Brunetti series, after reading about half of them. They are pretty constant in style and quality, and all of them have the same good points (interesting location, interesting and usually not pleasant characters) and less than good points (the intense hatred of everyone Sicilian or Sardinian, in every single book, every single time Brunetti talks to his rather racistically, by a northern Italian's eyes, boss, Patta, and every time there is ever anyone from Sicily or Sardinia anywhere in the book. The slow pace of the books I can forgive, but this racism annoys me in each Brunetti so much that I swear I won't touch them again). If you like Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series, or Håkan Nesser's Van Veeteren, you might like this series - or vice versa for what goes for recommendations. The detective heroes are similar (dedicated, justice seeking, rather boring family life, not the loose cannon detective type where Harry Hole or Bosch would fit, and often much more time spent at lunch and dinner table than actually detecting). There was a body in the book, and that made it a mystery apparently. A dead man is found in a glass factory in Venice. Add environmental crime, and rich obnoxious people. Make it kind of a thriller but without the thrill. There was a little oops too - the wife of the deceased was called Sonia, and at some point she gave birth to twins. But then they keep a Sara at the hospital. (Which Sara? Not either of the kids, and not obviously the mother in law either) The nonsensical title made me curious too - as there are apparently a bunch of other books with this same, rather odd title. Through a glass, darkly (I googled) is a biblical reference, 1 Cor 13:12.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Once again this crime is insidious rather than a murder. It's centered upon Murano, and the glass blowing venues, the different furnaces. And some politics too, because the President of the Glass Blowers Assoc. is trying to make a play and plan to escalate his power and celebrity to run for Mayor of the Veneto. The first half was far more fun than the second half. The last quarter was all about sludge and other secondary products of cast off nature from the glass blowing process of heat and chemi Once again this crime is insidious rather than a murder. It's centered upon Murano, and the glass blowing venues, the different furnaces. And some politics too, because the President of the Glass Blowers Assoc. is trying to make a play and plan to escalate his power and celebrity to run for Mayor of the Veneto. The first half was far more fun than the second half. The last quarter was all about sludge and other secondary products of cast off nature from the glass blowing process of heat and chemical usage. Patta gets a comeuppance by backing the wrong sycophant. But other than Chiara showing some smarts, it wasn't the most interesting Brunetti. It is spring and the flower descriptions were nice. And I did enjoy that seafood lunch by the Murano sites with Navarro. But I was rather disappointed as well. I never learned the winner of Elettra's lottery for the guessed date of Patta's rejection letter. Yet she gave copy to various Paola/ Guido missed timing for conversation connection during their leisure. And I have to add at the end of this reaction that there was quiet a load of pompous elitism in the multitudes of conversations in this book. And not only about pollution. Especially coming from people who don't need to drive- have every access to nearly everything at hand (food and art beyond mentioning), do not grow their own food and have decent weather in comparison to vast areas of the Earth. With Leon, it is usually venting upon religion. Not this time, she takes another soap box to preach upon. For the length of any plot or intrigue here, it was a big negative.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marina Maidou

    Donna Leon is not an Agatha Christi's style writer. You won't find an explanation at the end by the great detective to the crowd of innocents and guilties. Her books have an allusive style and you must try hard to find the crime and the guilty. This one was the most allusive book I ever read. Even the title is a hind (it comes from Bible) and it shows that whole the book is a hind (the greek title as Requiem for the Glass Town, has a more poetic style). A crime in Murano island which is given af Donna Leon is not an Agatha Christi's style writer. You won't find an explanation at the end by the great detective to the crowd of innocents and guilties. Her books have an allusive style and you must try hard to find the crime and the guilty. This one was the most allusive book I ever read. Even the title is a hind (it comes from Bible) and it shows that whole the book is a hind (the greek title as Requiem for the Glass Town, has a more poetic style). A crime in Murano island which is given after the second half of the book. You find very hard who killed poor Tassini and more harder, why he killed him. But most of the book is Venice. An unknown non-touristic Venice, full of gastronomic treasures complexed with the existentially humanitarian thoughts of serious Brunetti and views of social problems in a false shiny Venice. At last you don't care so much about the crime but more about this fragile city which seems like a dream you try to keep it in reality. The hints in the case were so many that even the end is completely cut; you only imagine what happens about the justice in Tassini's murdered life. And of course don't expect nothing about the rest persons that began the story as like Ribetti, Assunta De Cal and others. But you get Venice in private eye and you wish that if you'll be lucky to go there, to find the Donna Leon's landmarks. Maybe her next book should be in Venice and have nothing to do with murders.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    Donna Leon is a marvel. She has created a cast of appealing characters that deliver intelligent solutions to mysteries. You won't get a lot of shoot-em-ups or car chases or flying off cliffs and surviving thousand foot falls. What you will have is well-written, realistic dialogue, and an examination of Italian, or at least Venetian, culture. The focus in this story begins with Brunetti helping the friend of a colleague who has been arrested at an ecology demonstration protesting workers' exposure Donna Leon is a marvel. She has created a cast of appealing characters that deliver intelligent solutions to mysteries. You won't get a lot of shoot-em-ups or car chases or flying off cliffs and surviving thousand foot falls. What you will have is well-written, realistic dialogue, and an examination of Italian, or at least Venetian, culture. The focus in this story begins with Brunetti helping the friend of a colleague who has been arrested at an ecology demonstration protesting workers' exposure at glass factories to harmful chemicals. That morphs into death threats from the owner of a factory and blame one of the workers assigns to those chemicals for the mental disability of his children. We all know a murder is on the horizon and it soon arrives for Brunetti to solve. All her stories are told through Brunetti's eyes so we get a view of Venetian sprintime, the art of glass-making, as well as his wonderful relationship with Paula and the comic antics of Signorina Elletra as she and Brunetti suffer the foolishness of their superior Vice-Questore Patta, not to mention the food, culture and ambiance of Venice.  Excellent if not the outcome Brunetti would have wished.  

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Not as tightly plotted as most of her others. Brunetti becomes obsessed with looking into the Murano glass factory of a choleric, miserly old man, motivated by the nasty way the man treats his daughter and son-in-law...but this only gets the plot going. From there, it rambles...there is a nice twist at the end...enjoyable but not gripping, this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ann McReynolds

    All of Donna Leon’s series featuring the Venetian detective, Guido Brunetti, are superb, but this is one of my favorites due to the reporting of the workings of Murano glassblowers, a skill and art carried down since the Middle Ages.Coupling that dramatic story with the sad obsession of parents whose infant is born brain damaged makes this the strongest of Leon’s books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bonnieb

    Commissario Brunetti’s disillusion with the Venetian bureaucracy and political environment continues to grow in this 15th of Donna Leon’s series. As always, I appreciated expanding my knowledge of the culture and environment of Venice as much as the murder mystery. In this one, the continual environmental challenge of trying to keep the Laguna clean is core to the mystery itself as two glass factories on Murano seem to be trying to bypass decades old environmental laws guiding sludge and chemica Commissario Brunetti’s disillusion with the Venetian bureaucracy and political environment continues to grow in this 15th of Donna Leon’s series. As always, I appreciated expanding my knowledge of the culture and environment of Venice as much as the murder mystery. In this one, the continual environmental challenge of trying to keep the Laguna clean is core to the mystery itself as two glass factories on Murano seem to be trying to bypass decades old environmental laws guiding sludge and chemicals from making glass.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Another great little slice of Venetian life with Commissario Brunetti. This didn't have the most interesting plot since it was mostly about chemical pollution but it did send Brunetti to a nice trattoria for lunch - for regular readers, an essential part of the series. The artichoke and ham lasagna sounded so good that now I want this book - ! Another great little slice of Venetian life with Commissario Brunetti. This didn't have the most interesting plot since it was mostly about chemical pollution but it did send Brunetti to a nice trattoria for lunch - for regular readers, an essential part of the series. The artichoke and ham lasagna sounded so good that now I want this book - !

  23. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Even more entertaining than usual. Some now stock scenes: conflict with Patta, sending Electa to hack to get information, and different opinions about pollution. Yet the details are unique enough that the stock moments don’t matter. I am interested enough in the process of glass making that I didn’t mind the ling descriptions. Other readers might feel differently.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dianne Landry

    Fifteen books in and still loving this series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    Read 2013

  26. 4 out of 5

    Harvee

    Slow build up to the climax. A murder does occur, but well into the book. Learn about the making of Murano glass and environmental issues.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Fagan

    Love how these mysteries are never tied up neatly with a bow, but are left ugly and messy, much as she portrays Italian politics. And of course all the references to the food and Brunetti's family are wonderful. Love how these mysteries are never tied up neatly with a bow, but are left ugly and messy, much as she portrays Italian politics. And of course all the references to the food and Brunetti's family are wonderful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Howard Cincotta

    I like a man who has his priorities straight. In this installment of the Guido Brunetti mystery series, our Venetian detective focuses on food and his beloved if declining city before solving the mystery of a death on the island of Murano, famous for glassmaking. Author Donna Leon has clearly done her homework, with vivid and often detailed accounts of the glassmaking process at the fornaci on Murano. But first we need to eat. Lasagna with artichokes and thinly sliced ham for lunch at home, coffe I like a man who has his priorities straight. In this installment of the Guido Brunetti mystery series, our Venetian detective focuses on food and his beloved if declining city before solving the mystery of a death on the island of Murano, famous for glassmaking. Author Donna Leon has clearly done her homework, with vivid and often detailed accounts of the glassmaking process at the fornaci on Murano. But first we need to eat. Lasagna with artichokes and thinly sliced ham for lunch at home, coffee and pastry on the streets, or pasta with vongole (clams) at a Murano restaurant. Brunetti must weigh 300 pounds, my wife has observed. Eventually, we do get around to the death of a night watchman on Murano who was obsessed that the pollution and waste from glassmaking was somehow responsible for his daughter’s disabilities, and who leaves behind vital clues – including a marked copy of Dante’s Inferno. Brunetti’s love of classical literature, whether Dante or Gibbon, is another sub-theme that runs through Leon’s books, as is his continuing battles with his bureaucratic nemesis, Vice-Questore Patta. It’s fair to observe that, at this stage in the Brunetti series (Through a Glass was published in 2006), Leon can go on autopilot with serviceable if perfunctory prose. But when you have a character as appealing as Guido Brunetti, the joy of such good food and drink, and the city of Venice as your backdrop, you have a large margin of goodwill in which to operate.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dana Clinton

    The 15th book in the Inspector Brunetti series, and I have liked them all! Francophile that I am, I am beginning to wish I had time to experience all the wonderful cuisine in these tales; dinner time in the Brunetti household is what most of us dream it will be, with everyone enjoying and the food all home made. Hmmm... anyway, the mystery is quite satisfying because, unlike some of the other recent ones, it ends in such a way that one feels the guilty party is actually going to be caught. We ar The 15th book in the Inspector Brunetti series, and I have liked them all! Francophile that I am, I am beginning to wish I had time to experience all the wonderful cuisine in these tales; dinner time in the Brunetti household is what most of us dream it will be, with everyone enjoying and the food all home made. Hmmm... anyway, the mystery is quite satisfying because, unlike some of the other recent ones, it ends in such a way that one feels the guilty party is actually going to be caught. We are treated to a nice introduction to the making of the famous Venetian Murano glass, as the dead person works there. He doesn't wind up dead until quite late in the book. Guido is drawn into a "non-case" because a friend of one of the good policemen (Pucetti) has a friend accidentally "arrested" for being at an environmental protest, which leads to our eventual victim Tassini, who has a small daughter severely handicapped at birth. Tassini is convinced it is because the glass factories are illegally dumping toxic waste into the laguna... and even if it's clear the two things are not connected, his suspicions about the toxic waste seem critical to understanding how he "accidentally" died. Nice read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY (Police Procedural-Venice, Italy-Cont) – G+ Leon, Donna – 15th in series William Heinemann, 2006- UK Hardcover Commissario Guido Brunetti helps Inspectore Vianello’s friend, Marco, who has been arrested for protesting against chemical pollution of the Venetian lagoon. Marco is released for lack of evidence, much to the rage of his father-in-law, the owner of a glass factory on Murano. Marco’s wife tells Brunetti she is concerned her father may harm her husband. Whie Brunetti THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY (Police Procedural-Venice, Italy-Cont) – G+ Leon, Donna – 15th in series William Heinemann, 2006- UK Hardcover Commissario Guido Brunetti helps Inspectore Vianello’s friend, Marco, who has been arrested for protesting against chemical pollution of the Venetian lagoon. Marco is released for lack of evidence, much to the rage of his father-in-law, the owner of a glass factory on Murano. Marco’s wife tells Brunetti she is concerned her father may harm her husband. Whie Brunetti is trying to learn whether her fear has foundation, a man is found dead in front of one of the furnaces, and has left clues implicating the glass companies in illegal chemical dumping. *** I love the character of Brunetti, his relationship with his co-workers and family and his love of his city. Leon does an excellent job of making the reader part of the environment. However, this was not the strongest book in the series. It seemed to get off to a very slow start and took awhile before I really felt involved. This is such a good series and every author is allowed a slightly off book. It certainly won’t prevent me from continuing the series.

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