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A Question of Belief (Commissario Brunetti #19)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,162 Ratings  ·  314 Reviews
As Venice experiences a debilitating heatwave, Commissario Brunetti escapes the city to spend time with his family. For Ispettore Vianello, however, the weather is the last thing on his mind. It appears his aunt has become obsessed with horoscopes and has been withdrawing large amounts of money from the family business. Not knowing what to do, he consults Brunetti and asks ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Arrow (first published 2010)
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Dec 05, 2010 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm. I'm having trouble deciding between Guido Brunetti, Venetian Commissario, and my earlier hero, Quebec's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, from the Louise Penny series - who is my current favorite? Both middle-aged (okay, older middle-aged), sensitive, kind, and brilliant at solving the crimes they encounter. Both able to admit to mistakes, both mentoring younger colleagues. It's a great (library) world we live in, where we can tramp the snowy woods of Quebec, and, a week later, steam in the ...more
Aug 22, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Leon has written, as of 2010, nineteen books in this series. It is my intention to read every one of those nineteen titles. At this point I have now read six of them. Only thirteen left. So, what is it about these stories that I find so appealing, you might ask? I have given this some thought and what follows is my conclusions about why I find these stories so appealing.

First and foremost, the central character in all of these stories is Commissario Guido Brunetti. I find him so believable a
Sep 04, 2010 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Brunetti mystery and I can see the appeal. A solid mystery by a thoughtful detective,layered with the timeless struggle of being an ethical man surrounded by a corrupt and antiquated civil infrastructure in Italy. His solace - his family and books. Leon writes an leisure mystery, well paced, and perfect for calming mental visit to Italy. This installment focuses on the key issues of gender & other beliefs, challenging the most ardent Italian constitution.
It's always a pleasure to read a novel featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, a goodhearted man for whom all police work is a question of ethics and justice. Like most of us, however, some of the jobs he's called upon to undertake are more interesting than others. In A Question of Belief (19th in the series), Brunetti is stranded in the stifling Venetian August, his family vacationing in cool, fresh Alto Adige. As always, the case of the moment involves politics, bureaucratic corruption, and a so ...more
Vera Vala
As much as I enjoy the nice, familiar elements in Donna Leon's books such as describing Venice, the Italian way of life, Italian food and other wonderful little everyday details that Leon uses to create the unique atmosphere of her books, this time the edgy comments about Southern Italy were far too much for me.

Leon's comments have been irritating foreign people living in Southern Italy already for years, but her attitude is lately coming close from edgy to a clearly racists one. She's not 100%
Thomas Bruso
Crime author Donna Leon’s likable Commissario Guido Brunetti battles an endless summer heat wave and a corrupted court system in “A Question of Belief.”

The first half of the novel demonstrates Leon’s strengths as a writer of fine prose. The Venetian setting becomes the story’s main character—at least for the first ten chapters. The dazzling description of a summer heat wave becomes the focus for the bedraggled Inspector Brunetti and all the minor players.

The recurring mention of the sweltering t
Aug 30, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As opposed to most of my "reviews," based on reading and teaching over four decades, the Leon books I have not read but heard aloud (and in person, not from a tape or CD). They are filled with the complexities of Italy where a relative has lived for two decades: arrogant and expensive ruling class bureaucracy, the North-South divide (beginning at Rome!), justice as nearly impossible because of the interstices of power, the Court system biased through political connections and national prejudices ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Oct 09, 2012 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
There is a fashion in police procedural novels to start with a violent prologue whose relevance only becomes apparent much later in the book. In contrast, Donna Leon's approach is almost old-fashioned, and none the worse for that. A Question of Belief begins mundanely with a puzzled Ispettore Vianello trying to come to terms with on-line card-reading and fortune telling. More serious, but more familiar themes take over - court cases unreasonably delayed, contracts of dubious legality. Commissari ...more
We open in the heat of a Venetian August - and on almost every page there's a reference to the heat, sweat, the sun, or clothing going limp or sticking to one's back. I got it: the place is unbearable in August.

Vianello (Commissario Brunetti's trusty second) approaches Brunetti with a problem: his aunt is spending a lot of money on something - they don't know what - and his cousin suspects it's some sort of scam. Brunetti agrees to help, and finagles some trainees into trailing the good Zia, on
Lise Sirois
J'ai mis 3 étoiles mais je penche plus vers le 3.5. C'est ma première lecture de cette auteur. J'ai bien aimé le climat, au lieu des endroits glauques, sales et des personnages incongrus nous plongeons dans une Venise exacerbée par la chaleur et des fonctionnaires. Un polar inhabituel pour moi. J'ai mis 3.5 au lieu de 4 car j'ai trouvé que la fin était arrivée subitement sans prévenir et il me manquait des éclaircissements.
Toutefois, c'est bien "écrit" car c'est une traduction. Mais nous ressent
Jun 27, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Question of Belief is a mystery taking place in steamy summer Venice, dealing with corrupt Judges, bankers and fortune telling charlatans that take advantage of gullible elderly citizens. A murder is involved and the crimes are solved, but the guilty are not punished due to "lack of evidence" and the fortune teller fled to take advantage of others in a new location. Commissario Brunetti goes back to his vacation in Alto Adige, part of the the Italian alps. I enjoy the series for the gentle pac ...more
Deborah Biancotti
I didn't really connect with this, my first of Donna Leon's Venice-based book.

The prose wasn't really my thing, but I suspect one of my big problems was just that this is the 19th book in the series, & I don't know who the hell any of these characters are. Also I wanted more women characters. (In fact, a book series about a female Venetian cop coping with the traditional Venetian society would be brilliant.)

Also I wanted to connect more with Venice, but perhaps the fact that main character
I was a bit disappointed with this book. There was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. Also, about a quarter of the book was devoted to describing the heat of summer in Venice, which, as a reader dealing with 100+F temperatures in Texas, wasn't something I really wanted to hear so much about.

There are two cases, one involving a murder and the other a fortuneteller, but I never really felt like part of the investigation. There was a distance in the storytelling that kept me from getting in
Dec 28, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A Question of Belief” is the 19th book in the Brunetti series by Donna Leon. There are two plot lines running in this book, one of which involves Brunetti’s Police Inspector, Vianello. Vianello’s aunt is paying huge sums of money to an astrologer with a shady past. Brunetti steps in to lend a hand. The main plot is about a the inefficiency of the Italian court system and the murder of a government official. Donna Leon continues to write books that are solid and thoroughly engrossing. Brunetti’s ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Evelyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Donna Leon book I have read and I guess it just isn't my thing. It wasn't long enough to properly build intrigue and suspense in the murder mystery. I felt no connection to any of the characters. It was set in Venoce in August and every page had at least one reference to the heat, most pages had two or three or four references to the heat. Enough already! In that way, this book was much too long. Perhaps fewer heat references and more character/murder investigation references w ...more
Mary Ellen
It's August, it's brutally hot in Venice, and Commissario Brunetti is looking forward to time in the cool mountain air with his family, when he is brought back to investigate the murder of a court clerk.
Although many of the elements I usually enjoy in this series were present here - Brunetti himself, his relationship with his associate Vianello and his wife, acerbic professor Paola; scenes of Venice; the amazing research capacity of the enigmatic Signorina Elettra - something was missing (maybe
Dana Clinton
Jun 13, 2015 Dana Clinton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#19 in the Inspector Brunetti series by Donna Leone, I have continued to enjoy them all, easy reading but well composed, and one does grow fond of Brunetti and his family, and Vianello his main sidekick in the Venice police. It is overwhelmingly hot in Venice and yet various events of course conspire to prevent Guido from taking off to the mountains with his family for some relief. A couple of different strands to the story, as always. Vianello is deeply concerned that his aging aunt is being fl ...more
Jun 15, 2014 Shari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes Leon's novels are not hard-core detective novels but studies of human nature, cultural differences, and social history. This is one of those. While there is a case, it seemed to me it was almost incidental and gave Leon a chance to air cynicisms about opportunists who prey on the weak, the elderly, and the superstitious. It also gives her a podium to discuss, again, the corruption within the government and the higher echelons of big business. There is class tension, yet this is always ...more
Alison C
Mar 09, 2015 Alison C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donna Leon is one of those authors whose books I'll buy immediately and without question; her long-running series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice police is a wonderful study of that great but troubled city and its people (and its food). A Question of Belief is the latest, the 18th, in the series, and in it we find poor Brunetti suffering through a sweltering August in Venice. He and his family have been dreaming of their upcoming two-week vacation in the mountains, where it's ...more
Howard Cincotta
Jun 29, 2015 Howard Cincotta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Don’t worry about dark secrets, suspense, and a killer roaming the streets (or canals), Inspector Guido Brunetti and his Venetian entourage have the case in hand – and there is simply no need to rush.

First, it’s summer, and Venice is a furnace – when Brunetti forgets his sunglasses, the glare is almost killing. Second, he must plan the family vacation in the cool mountains; his wife Paula and their two children have to be among the most adorable detective families in all of fiction. But duty ev
Feb 14, 2014 Jemina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tunnustan, että en ole lukenut kaikkia pariakymmentä Guido Brunettia. Jonkinlainen käsitys komisarion perhe-elämästä ja sielunmaisemasta on tullut vajaan kymmenen dekkarinkin kautta, eikä Uskon asia tuota kuvaa olennaisesti keikauta.

Tällä(kin) kertaa rikosjuoni liikkuu italialaisen korruption ympärillä. Oikeusvahtimestari on murhattu ja jäljet johtavat oikeudenkäyntien järjestelyyn. Kuulostaa kovin tutulta Berlusconin oikeusjuttuja uutisten välityksellä seuranneille (no okei, ei ehkä murha...).
Apr 22, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've realized that Guido Brunetti reminds me of another character I love - Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko. They're both cops, who have a deep compassion for their flawed fellow humans, but whose passion for justice is at war with the corrupt system in which he has to work. They also share a bone-deep connection to and love for their home towns, Moscow and Venice.
One difference, of course, is the richness of Brunetti's home life, with that wonderful family of his. Poor Arkady.
Another similarity
Eric Vanhove
Jan 25, 2016 Eric Vanhove rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first stumbled - literally - upon a Donna Leon book while crossing a piazza in Rome. Someone had dropped the book, and I was lucky enough to pick it up. I read the book, and have been hooked on Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries ever since, and I look forward to May even more now because that is when Donna Leon's latest novel reaches our shores (they are published in Europe earlier, I believe). I then try to save the book for some time when I can sit down for some serious, uninterrupted read ...more
Apr 23, 2015 Lois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brunetti beomes involved in his co-worker Vianelli's concern with his aunt's obsession with a seemingly fake fortune teller. While working on this situation, a case lands on his desk concerning the court sytem in Venice. Cases appear to become long and drawn out to the advantage of those who are being accused of wrong doing and to the detriment of those seeking redress. A murder throws the investigation into new light. This time, Leon examines the abilities of charlatans who are able to readily ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
During an extremely hot August in Venice, Brunetti can’t wait for his annual family vacation in the mountains where he can wear a sweater and sleep under a comforter, but two visitors to his office are about to change his plans. Inspector Vianello is very concerned about his elderly aunt, who has become extremely interested in horoscopes and fortune telling and has been withdrawing large amounts of money from her bank. Then an old friend brings Brunetti evidence of cases in the local court whic ...more
Geraldine O'donnell
I was enjoying a good read right up to the end when I realised that the writing was a little sloppy as if it had been rushed to print. With better editing it could have been much more polished. Towards the end some sentences were repetitious and someone should have pointed out that the imagery of clothes sticking to one's back was tedious beyond belief. In addition there was no tying up of the different strands of the plot.

This was a good book wasted. It had a good story line with well develope
Oct 22, 2014 Bett rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely to spend some time again with Commissario Brunetti and his family, friends, and sublime city. I find that the time of year in which Donna Leon sets each story plays into my enjoyment of the book; the oppressive, enervating heat of the Venetian summer is my least favorite -- and it colored my appreciation of this book. The dangled promise of a reward in the chilly northern mountains for Guido and Paola and their kids got me through! The story featured some of the Brunetti stories' most sym ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Donna Leon writes a smart, emminently readable novel. I love her principal character, Commissario Brunetti and what's not to like about a well-written book that let's you spend a few hours in the cafes and neighborhoods of Venice?

Jan 04, 2015 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is the second or third Commissario Brunetti mystery I've read. I've enjoyed them all for their Venetian setting and their Italian sensibilities. Donna Leon makes me feel like I"m in Italy, enjoying wine with a deletable pizza lunch while thinking about a murder case.
Question of Belief's main plot focuses on the death of what turns out to be gay man (a respected, serious, hard government worker)in the courtyard of his apartment complex. Leonn, through Commissario Brunetti, takes care in desc
Teresa Mills-clark
Jul 27, 2014 Teresa Mills-clark rated it really liked it
I save Donna Leon books for the moments when I want a "good read" ... one which combines the elements of sound story telling and wonderfully paced character development. I was transported back to the Venice I experienced during June (2013) when it was "so hot" that any sort of initiative in the way of exploring was readily sapped by the heat. This book was set during August and I could relate to the weather. But, more importantly, Leon captures the everyday experiences of living in Venice throug ...more
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Donna Leon (born September 29, 1942, in Montclair, New Jersey) is an American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti.

Donna Leon has lived in Venice for over twenty-five years. She has worked as a lecturer in English Literature for the University of Maryland University College - Europe (UMUC-Europe) in Italy, then as a Professor
More about Donna Leon...

Other Books in the Series

Commissario Brunetti (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti, #1)
  • Death in a Strange Country (Commissario Brunetti, #2)
  • Dressed for Death (Commissario Brunetti, #3)
  • Death and Judgment (Commissario Brunetti, #4)
  • Acqua Alta (Commissario Brunetti, #5)
  • Quietly in Their Sleep (Commissario Brunetti, #6)
  • A Noble Radiance (Commissario Brunetti, #7)
  • Fatal Remedies (Commissario Brunetti, #8)
  • Friends in High Places (Commissario Brunetti, #9)
  • A Sea of Troubles (Commissario Brunetti, #10)

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