Beastly Things by Donna Leon – review

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  • What’s it about? Commissario Brunetti returns to action as another body is discovered in Venice. Called to an inconclusive crime scene, Brunetti is convinced that he has seen the victim before, but where? The quest for the man’s identity leads the Venetian police on a trail through fancy shoe shops, an unruly veterinary surgery and an uncomfortable slaughterhouse. Once discovered, the dead man’s identity refuses to provide any explanations either. Will the information obtained dubiously by Signorina Elettra be the key to unravelling this mystery? And what will it take to uncover the motive for this strange murder?

    goodtoknow says: If you like crime fiction, Beastly Things is definitely worth a read. Donna Leon masterfully evokes a city and culture that ensnared us, in spite of a few gory details you have to wade through along the way. The mystery, which takes time to unravel, will certainly appeal to both old and new readers of the Brunetti collection. This gripping story explores corruption and blackmail in the Italian city, making it an ideal read for those who enjoy a gritty hard-boiled crime story. However, the brilliant snap shots into Brunetti’s family life (think wine, olives and arguments about lunch), mean that it will still appeal to those who prefer a more domesticated character-led whodunit as well. We found ourselves racing through the 33 chapters with alarming ease and loved the complex relationships between Brunetti and his colleagues. We’d encourage anyone who enjoyed this to delve into the previous novels from the Brunetti series. Each one provides a different, yet equally exciting, insight into the Commissario’s murder cases, family life, and the captivating city of Venice too.

    Rating: 8/10

    Publisher: William Heinemann

    Publish date: Out now

    If you like this, you’ll love: Death in August by Marco Vichi

    Buy it now on Amazon

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    Where to next?

    The Racketeer by John Grisham

    A Question of Identity by Susan Hill

    See the new titles in goodtoknow’s 2013 Book Club