Publisher, Date:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014.
237 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
Illustration on lining papers.
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Investigating the thefts of rare book pages from a prestigious Venetian library, Commissario Guido Brunetti is stymied by numerous possible suspects and the murder of a seemingly harmless theologian. - (Baker & Taylor)

Investigating the thefts of rare book pages from a prestigious Venetian library, Commissario Guido Brunetti is stymied by numerous possible suspects and the murder of a seemingly harmless theologian. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Donna 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 problemthe 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 years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.
- (Perseus Publishing)

Author Biography

Donna Leon is the author of the internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon was born in New Jersey and has lived in Venice for thirty years.
- (Perseus Publishing)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Think of Leon's latest Guido Brunetti novel as a love letter to her fans, many of whom are librarians. The premise involves the theft and mutilation of rare books from a private research library, and much of the action takes place in the library itself, with Brunetti inhaling the aroma of aging parchment and fondly remembering his student days. Ah, but amid all this biblio-love, there is a real crime—not only the theft but also the murder of one of the library's regular patrons. As usual, the focus rests with the people involved in and on the periphery of the case. Brunetti's concern is always with individuals: how they come to do the things they do and what that says about them and about us. At one point, the police pathologist muses, "You know, Guido, at times I find it difficult to believe you do the work you do." One might say the same of Leon: her books, despite employing the structure of traditional mysteries, are so very different from most crime novels, even those characterized as character-driven. For example, in one four-page scene in which Brunetti questions the brother of the victim, we see the unique sensibility Leon brings to the genre: sure she shows what a skilled interrogator her detective is, but between the lines, there is so much more: Brunetti's remarkable sensitivity to other human beings, his ability not just to see what they are feeling but to share those feelings and to internalize their melancholy. Above all, Brunetti is a careful reader, of people, of places, of situations, and he never stops at surface meanings. That's why we bookish types adore him the way we do, and why this will likely be one of his most-loved adventures. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: It's a new Leon novel, and it's set in a library. Must we go on? Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

The 23rd book in CWA Macallan Silver Dagger winner Leon's internationally best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series takes us back to water-lit Venice, where Brunetti is looking into the theft of pages from rare books at a renowned Venetian library. The main suspect is a visiting American professor, but investigation shows there's no such person; then a gentle theologian who has frequented the library ends up dead.

[Page 63]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Reviews

In the 23rd outing for Commissario Guido Brunetti (The Golden Egg), the Venetian policeman is called to a library to investigate the thefts of several rare historical books and maps. Brunetti gets a crash course in the politics of wealthy donors, fragile institutional reputations, and the international black market in stolen literary works and prints. The investigation takes a turn for the worse when one of the library researchers is found beaten to death. Brunetti smoothly moves through the investigation, humoring his bosses and finessing witnesses, while maintaining his integrity. VERDICT Series fans will delight in the usual snippets of daily life in a historic city, brief asides about the universality of corruption and humanity's venality, and several mouthwatering meals. In addition to series fans, it will appeal to readers looking for a well-plotted story matched with just enough details of life in one of the world's most beautiful locations. [See Prepub Alert, 9/1/13; library marketing.]—Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green

[Page 75]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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