Synopses & Reviews
When Atlantic Monthly Press relaunched her Commissario Guido Brunetti series. Donna Leon was hailed as the best mystery writer you've never heard of...She uses the relatively small and crime-free canvas of Venice for riffs about Italian life, sexual styles and--best of all--the kind of ingrown business and political corruption that seems to lurk just below the surface (Chicago Tribune). Now Blood from a Stone brings her celebrated character Commissario Guido Brunetti back on the scene: On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death--fake handbags of every designer label. The dead man had been working as a vu cumpra, one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours, trading without work permits. Commissario Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: Why would anyone kill an illegal immigrant? With few social connections and little money, infighting among these workers is the obvious answer. But once Brunetti begins to investigate this unfamiliar Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake within the secretive society. Warned by Patta, his superior, to resist further involvement in the case, Brunetti only becomes more determined to unearth the truth behind this mysterious killing. Reluctant as he is to let this event be smugly relegated to the category of not worth dealing with, how far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture in this illegal community? Blood from a Stone is an exquisite and irresistible mystery offering anunexpected take on life in contemporary Venice.
On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle. Commissario Guido Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: Why would anyone kill an illegal immigrant? How far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture in this illegal community?
About the Author
A New Yorker of Irish/Spanish descent, Donna Leon first went to Italy in 1965, returning regularly over the next decade or so while pursuing a career as an academic in the States and then later in Iran, China and finally Saudi Arabia. It was after a period in Saudi Arabia, which she found ‘damaging physically and spiritually’ that Donna decided to move to Venice, where she has now lived for over twenty years.
Her debut as a crime fiction writer began as a joke: talking in a dressing room in Venice’s opera-house La Fenice after a performance, Donna and a singer friend were vilifying a particular German conductor. From the thought ‘why don’t we kill him?’ and discussion of when, where and how, the idea for Death at La Fenice took shape, and was completed over the next four months.
Donna Leon is the crime reviewer for the London Sunday Times and is an opera expert. She has written the libretto for a comic opera, entitled Dona Gallina. Set in a chicken coop, and making use of existing baroque music, Donna Gallina was premiered in Innsbruck. Brigitte Fassbaender, one of the great mezzo-sopranos of our time, and now head of the Landestheater in Innsbruck, agreed to come out of retirement both to direct the opera and to play the part of the witch Azuneris (whose name combines the names of the two great Verdi villainesses Azucena and Amneris).