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Beastly Things (Commissario Brunetti, #21)
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Beastly Things (Commissario Brunetti #21)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,506 ratings  ·  416 reviews
When the body of man is found in a canal, damaged by the tides, carrying no wallet, and wearing only one shoe, Brunetti has little to work with. No local has filed a missing-person report, and no hotel guests have disappeared. Where was the crime scene? And how can Brunetti identify the man when he can’t show pictures of his face? The autopsy shows a way forward: it turns ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Robert
I put these Commissario Brunetti novels in the same category as I do the TV series "Midsomer Murders" - a kind of comfort food for the mind. In neither case, nothing outstanding - just gentle humour and human kindness in a beautiful setting contrasted with the ugliness of real life. This is No. 21 in the Brunetti books I own, and as usual, Donna Leon did not let me down.

Once again, Brunetti pursues in his rather casual way his major interests: family, food and meting out justice (in that order).
...more
Ms.pegasus
Aug 08, 2014 Ms.pegasus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Donna Leon
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: browing my local bookstore
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Leon has written a sombre book exploring themes of aging, death, and ethical choices. The sombre note is sounded with a two-page opening which leisurely inspects a nameless corpse in the police morgue. Despite his damaged condition and physical impairments he is viewed with hushed dignity, a mood created by the pronoun 'he' rather than 'it' and the many reminders that this man was recently alive. “It was cold in the room, the only sound the heavy wheeze of the air conditioning. The man's thick c ...more
Rose
Donna Leon's "Beastly Things" is one among a long standing series of mysteries revolving around Commissario Guido Brunetti, taking place in the heart of Venice, Italy. It's my first novel in the progressive series, but from what I understand, it's a mystery that's self-contained, so readers who are just joining the series can partake with it without feeling like they've missed anything. For me, I didn't have as intimate a connection with Guido Brunetti as perhaps other readers who've followed th ...more
Gloria Feit
There usually are three common elements in any Guido Brunetti mystery: The City of Venice plays a central role. Then there is the crime for the Commissario to solve. And, lastly, there is a significant social issue running through the novel. This, the 21st novel in the series, is no exception. A man is fished out of a Venetian canal, having been stabbed in the back. Brunetti sets off to find the murderer, and witnesses corruption on a massive scale among public officials and private business.

Loo
...more
Beverly Swerling
I adore Leon's Brunetti series for the writing, the superb characterization, and the exquisite evocation of beautiful Venice. If her stories display cracks it is in the area of plot, and in Beastly Things that fissure is a bit wider than usual. It isn't that the events that create incident in BT are illogical or forced - sometimes what we mean when we talk of a less than wonderful plot. The problem here is predictability. Everything fits too well.

Leon writes with no foreshadowing, that's part o
...more
LJ
First Sentence: A man lay still, as still as a piece of meat on a slab, as still as death itself.

It starts with a body found in a canal; stabbed to death, no wallet and wearing only one shoe. His physical structure should make him fairly easy to identify, and does. A man who loves animals and is separated from his wife who seems not to particularly care that her husband is dead. But it is the man’s secondary profession which raises questions, not only about the murder, but about the politics and
...more
Toni Osborne
Book 21 in the Commissario Brunetti series

The appeal in this series has been the leisurely approach Commissiario Brunnetti has in solving crimes, it was refreshing to see him pick up the pace and exert himself with a lot more hands on action this time. The structure has not change a whole lot, we still experience Venice through the eyes of Brunetti and of course his wonderful family and their customs always play an important part in the staging of the mystery. This novel explores the dark side o
...more
Kathleen
Very exciting to go to the library and find the latest Donna Leon novel, set always in Venice. The author chooses a contemporary Italian problem as the nexus of each novel; in this case the safety of the meat industry. Commissario Guido Brunetti will find a way to deliver justice, but maybe not the legal way--in Italy, that could take too long. In this book Brunetti enters the 21st century--when he enters his office, there is a computer on his desk. Usually he relies on Pucetti and Signorina Ele ...more
Laura
Jan 18, 2015 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Naomi


I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Publication date: April 17, 2012.

This is the first book I read by Donna Leon and I really liked it.

The plot is about a murder investigation when the body of a man is found in a canal without any kind of identification.

Commissario Brunetti is in charge of this crime and the police takes at least two days in order to find the true identify of the unknown victim since nobody claims for his dis
...more
Lauren Fidler
so...it seems i've reached an impasse with this series (only my second book in but the 21st in the lot).

i like guido - he's a gentle presence in a detective story. there's a lot of thinking and drinking coffee and dealing with his wife and the politics of venice and more coffee and then a tidy wrap up to his mystery. it's a little like the "midsomer murders" series - you could pretty much fall asleep for parts of it but still enjoy it and not miss anything crucial.

these aren't "try to solve them
...more
Jeanne

Donna Leon has once again provided us with a mystery set in the beautiful, fascinating city of Venice, investigated by the wonderful Commissario Guido Brunetti, and leading to the examination of a current social issue, in this case, the meat industry.

The body of a veterinarian is found in a canal and Brunetti’s investigation of the murder takes him to a slaughterhouse where current practices leave much to be desired. There are a few fairly gruesome scenes, and the idea of corruption in this inst
...more
John
Workmanlike police detective novel based in Venice, Italy. Inspector Brunetti is on a case of man found dead in the canal and uncovers a plain little ruse in an abbatoir in Mestre. So in fact, most of the case occurs in Mestre, one of the dullest places in the world.

Frankly, there are better things to read.
Pam
What can I say? I just LOVE Guido and his family; Vianello grows so much more intersting and wise; Pucetti expands into the picture.. and Ms Leon manages to keep things current and intesting even as I become more and more a part of Venice! I can even remember, when the books started, no telefonino and Senorina Eletra was THE wunderkind of the computer. Now Guido has his own machine and dips his toe into browsing on his own...not the main thrust of the story, of course, but some things that just ...more
Mary
Commissario Guido Brunetti is the main character in all of the Donna Leon books. Ms. Leon has lived in Venice for thirty years now and her books just get better and better. None of her books, not even "Beastly Things" ever cross the line of decency. They are the kind of books I could lend to my daughter or my mother. Venice is the setting and of course the Commissario, as a lead Venice detective, is a decent and likable character, as are most of the rest of his cohorts. Of course his boss is a n ...more
Larraine
Comissario Guido Brunetti understands all too well the depth of corruption in the government of his native country. He is saddened by a culture that is whipped to a frenzy by the death of a pretty young girl while ignoring the more important issues. (Sound familiar?) When a veterinarian's body is found in a canal, Brunetti's investigation leads to a corrupt slaughterhouse that is allowing sick and diseased animals to be processed for meat. There are some uncomfortable scenes that may enforce veg ...more
Linda
Vianello, Signorina Ellettra, and Guido Brunetti's daughter all gave up eating meat, especially beef, some time ago, for humanitarian reasons and also because so many diseased animals end up in the food chain. The topic is beginning to give gourmand Brunetti serious pause. When he's assigned to the case of a veterinarian whose body, punctured with stab wounds, is found floating in a canal, he'll soon have even more reasons to watch what he eats.

Beastly Things is a fine police procedural, in whic
...more
Jan C
This probably would have gotten a better rating if I hadn't dozed off in the middle.

I may have to go back and reread this sometime.

One question I missed out on was what kind of crime did Paola not want to report to Brunetti.

Parts of this reminded me of The Jungle. Somehow I would have hoped slaughtering would have made improvements since then.
Antoinette
Wow. Donna Leon is better than ever in her twenty-first novel, Beastly Things, in the Commissario Guido Brunetto mytery series. As stated in the Globe and Mail (Canada) "Leon's characters are more interesting now than they were eighteen years ago." A dead man shows up in the canals of Venice, the territory of Commissario Guido Brunetti. With the help of Inspector Vianello and Signorina Elletra, Brunelli detects the influence of the administrators of the slaughterhouse were the dead veterinarian ...more
Vincent
Closed the book after 50 pages with no intention of returning to it later. This feels like a (poorly) written version of Commissario Montalbano. I never felt any sympathy with any protagonist, which is what I look for in a book; no feeling of immersion in the story, even though the author tries hard to pretend you're reading a translation from Italian (even adding useless words in Italian in the text to try and make you feel "at home") instead of an original English text. And I think that trying ...more
Monica
Donna Leon is consistently great with every book she writes. In Beastly Things she delicately inserts a murder into what is a controversial topic, the slaughtering of animals for food supply. Brunetti and Vianello see and hear some things they would rather not, and meet some people whose moral ethics are horribly askew. Once again we see the calm and rational personality of Brunetti shine through. Always a solid delight to read a Leon book.
Jon
Unlike several of Donna Leon's most recent Brunetti mysteries, this one has a very clear-cut position on exactly who is guilty of what, and the matter is resolved in pretty much the traditional mystery way. The title refers both to the murder victim, who is a veterinarian, and to a slaughterhouse and meat-processing plant where he worked. At one point Brunetti visits the killing floor, and I will not be surprised if he follows his daughter in becoming a vegetarian in the next book. Perhaps I'm j ...more
Susan
A man is pulled out of a Venice canal with stab wounds in his back and Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate. From the beginning this book is a disappointment in a usually fine series. The man is given a rare disease that seems to serve no other plot purpose than to shorten the investigation into his identity. The solution to the murder is clear from about the middle of the book. It appears that the author’s purpose in writing the book was to convince readers to become vegetarians. If so ...more
Emma Cooper
Reading a Guido Brunetti novel is like meeting up with an old friend. You know what to expect, but it's always enjoyable, usually stimulating and sometimes surprising. Based broadly around issues of animal welfare and ethical food production, Beastly Things has the usual mix of Byzantine Italian politics, power and privilege. This one is a little more mainland-based than usual, but still provides a Venice fix for fellow Italophiles. There's more sexual politics than usual, and the novel has a ha ...more
Peter
Donna Leon is such a master of the Venetian Mystery...she has a feel for a people, dwindling though they might be, and a place, as seemingly well known as it is, that makes every new novel, once a year in the spring simply a delight. A visit with old friends, for a chat about things familiar and unfamiliar and each encounter leads to yet another insight into the matters that most tug at Donna Leon's sleave...this time out it is the industrial slaughter establishment and the role of the vet in th ...more
Dixie Swanson
I adore Donna Leon's series about Commisario Guido Brunetti and recommend that you start with the first. If you like mysteries with interesting continuing characters, these will grab you. It is a delight to see Chiara and Raffi (his children) grow up, and his wife (a literature professor) is down to earth and quite the cook. Brunetti's love of his family is real and touching. His manipulation of his idiot boss, Patta,is downright brilliant.

Interestingly, she does not publish the books in Italy
...more
Nora
Donna Leon never disappoints with a well drawn mystery. Beastly Things offers the contrasting states of goodness and evil.
Anne
I love it when, by marvelous happenstance, I find myself reading two books that mirror each other. So it is with this Commissario Brunetti crime novel which happens to be coupled on my nightstand with the non-fiction choice for this month's book group, "Poisoned". At the heart of both are disturbing stories of diseased beef and money-driven corner-cutting in the meat industry. It makes me appreciate our local food producers in Vermont who work outside of the mega food supply chain. Bottom line, ...more
Dana Clinton
As always, when under lots of stress, I turn to a good cozy mystery, so I have continued with the Donna Leon series with Beastly Things, the 21st in the series. Always delightful! Although I did cringe a bit during the few pages where Guido Brunetti and Vianello visit a slaugterhouse, the overall mystery is well constructed, and for a change, it looks as though the main perpertrator will be brought to justice. The body of a deformed man with Margelung disease. a disfiguring disease, is found in ...more
Mark Bacon
Police procedurals, sometimes plodding compared to their PI and amateur sleuth cousins, usually follow a cop’s methodical investigation. In Donna Leon’s Beastly Things, Commissario Guido Brunetti moves one step at a time as he seeks the killer of a kindly veterinarian whose body is found floating in a Venice canal, but it’s Brunetti’s ruminations on official corruption, the human condition, treatment of animals, food and life in the Italian island city that make it a satisfying journey and, at t ...more
Rita
***1/2 is my actual rating. Though the Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries are slow moving with intrigue, they are still quite soothingly fun to read. Who wouldn't like to come home each evening, after working on grizzly murder scenes in beautiful Venice, to a scrumptious, artistically presented home cooked meal by Paola, smile on her face and two glasses of champagne or wine in her hands and a wise and ready discourse at the ready?

This time, a veterinarian from Mestre has been murdered and dum
...more
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16290
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
More about Donna Leon...

Other Books in the Series

Commissario Brunetti (1 - 10 of 24 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)
Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti, #1) Death in a Strange Country (Commissario Brunetti, #2) Acqua Alta (Commissario Brunetti, #5) Dressed for Death (Commissario Brunetti, #3) A Noble Radiance (Commissario Brunetti, #7)

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