By Donna Leon
(Penguin Books, Mass Market Paperback, 9780143112426, 320pp.)
Publication Date: September 25, 2007
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Donna Leon's multitude of fans around the world has grown with each new Commissario Brunetti novel, and now mystery lovers in the United States can enjoy another compelling episode. In Fatal Remedies, Brunetti's career is under threat when his professional and personal lives unexpectedly intersect. In the chill of the Venetian dawn, a sudden act of vandalism shatters the quiet of the deserted city, and Brunetti is shocked to find that the culprit waiting to be apprehended at the scene is a member of his own family. Meanwhile, he is also under pressure from his superiors to solve a daring robbery with connections to a suspicious accidental death. Could the two crimes be connected? And will Brunetti be able to prove his family's innocence before it's too late?
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).
"One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever"
-The Washington Post
"No one knows the labyrinthine world of Venice . . . like Leon's Brunetti."
"[Brunetti's] humane police work is disarming, and his ambles through the city are a delight."
- The New York Times Book Review
"The sophisticated but still moral Brunetti, with his love of food and his loving family, proves a worthy custodian of timeless values and verities."
-The Wall Street Journal