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The Golden Egg (Commissario Brunetti #22)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,989 ratings  ·  396 reviews
In The Golden Egg, as the first leaves of autumn begin to fall, Vice Questore Patta asks Brunetti to look into a minor shop-keeping violation committed by the mayor’s future daughter-in-law. Brunetti has no interest in helping his boss amass political favors, but he has little choice but to comply. Then Brunetti’s wife, Paola, comes to him with a request of her own. The me...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 2013)
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Nancy (essayist)
Donna Leon could write a book describing nothing but what the Commissario had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I would not only read it, I would savor every word. As usual in a Brunetti novel, there is a mystery here to be solved--not even a true police case this time around--and that mystery allows Leon to share what she thinks about the state of the world. While I tend to agree with her beliefs, I read her books primarily for the characters and the glimpse into their daily lives as Veneti...more
Blair McDowell
Let me begin by saying that Donna Leon is incapable of writing a bad book. This book is well worth reading. That being said, it is not up to the standard of her other books featuring Venetian Comissario Guido Brunetti. Both the depiction of the characters and the plot itself are a shadow of Leon’s usual writing. Most of the stories in this quite phenomenal series have dealt with important socio-political-religious issues. They have represented a loving, an educated and, at times, despairing, vie...more
This may be Leon's darkest crime novel yet. They're all pretty bleak, as corruption in the government at least, is rife. But this is disturbing on a more personal level for Brunetti and for readers--the crime involves human cruelty that is more chilling than one that involves graphically described violence. I've read all in the series, and while I'm not certain this is the best, it has certainly stayed with me. Brunetti battles corruption in the police department and beyond in modern Italy, solv...more
Like many of the reviewers here, I LOVE Donna Leon's books, and I'm especially fond of Commissario Guido Brunetti. The author is not just a writer of mysteries; I would say her books are literary fiction structured around a mystery with lots to tell us about life. (Louise Penny is another "mystery" author who's writing just gets better and better, deeper and deeper.) Some of Leon's more recent books have been a little too structured around a here's-what's-wrong-with-the-world theme for me: the d...more
Patrice Hoffman
I am ashamed that it has taken me so long to discover Donna Leon. I can honestly say I am a fan who is going to go out and get more books, preferably the first three, in this Commissario Brunetti series. The Golden Egg is the 22nd novel in the Brunetti series but I feel that it can be read as a standalone as well. Although I'm sure it could have only helped if I had read any of the previos books, I don't feel like anything was lacked in regards to character depth, or vivid imagery. Leon's writin...more
Martha Bullen
Sitting down to read a new Donna Leon mystery novel is like sitting down to eat at my favorite Italian restaurant. I approach each book with anticipation and savor the memories of the Venetian setting and her appealing and very human characters, especially her hero, Commissario Guido Brunetti and his delightful family. I am never disappointed.

Leon is an American who has lived in Venice for thirty years. Her love and knowledge of the city and its inhabitants breathe through every page. I find mys...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
The Golden Egg is the latest in the Commissario Guido Burnetti Mysteries. If you are a fan of the series you will not be disappointed. If this is your first time to read a Commissario Brunetti mystery you will be a new fan.

The world of Brunetti: The series is set in Venice and each book adds another layer to the world where Brunetti lives. Donna Leon is a long time resident of the city and she brings it to vivid life.

Politics: Like previous books there are many statements about how politics wor...more
"To learn this little, he had avoided his professional responsibilities for a week, and had engaged or commandeered the help of other officers of the state, all in pursuit of what was becoming to seem like nothing more than a whim." - To those already acquainted with Inspector Brunetti, this will seem typical - he ignores or gets around orders from above because they are either stupid or venial, while pursuing the human interest: in this case the death of an apparent deaf-mute.

The main story, in...more
Gloria Feit

It is no mean feat to sustain a mystery series at this high a level through 18 novels. Of course, that is just what Donna Leon has accomplished, and more (this is the 19th Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery). Of course, "The Golden Egg” features that charming and erudite Venetian detective in a tale that begins with the death of a mentally challenged deaf mute who works in a tailor shop frequented by Brunetti’s wife, Paola. She goads Brunetti into looking into the death, which appears to be natu...more
I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't until I finished this novel that I realized that the title referred to the fable about the goose that laid golden eggs. By then, the meaning was all too clear. This is one of Donna Leon's darkest and best stories, in my opinion. Guido Brunetti pursues an unofficial investigation into the death of an apparently deaf and mute man who had no official existence. No one who knew him or about him is willing to talk. Some people tell overt lies, and many more lie by sa...more
Angela Savage
The Golden Egg is the twenty-second instalment in Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series set in Venice. As someone just finishing the third book in a crime fiction series, I find it astonishing that anyone could write twenty-two (and counting). Equally impressive is the author's ongoing ability to engage, entertain and surprise in this deceptively simple, ultimately harrowing story.

Brunetti is given the official task in The Golden Egg of making enquiries into a possible bribery case that might...more
Biblio Files
As a longtime fan of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries, I've found her last several books to be a mixed bag. Leon doesn't stick to a rigid formula in her books and sometimes there's not even a real crime, let alone a murder. But there's always a mystery and some kind of social commentary as well. I enjoy that and catching up with Brunetti and his family.

Still, the mystery is first and foremost for me, so if it's slow to get going, I have limited patience. There was one of her recent b...more
Neil Plakcy
I just finished THE GOLDEN EGG, by Donna Leon, my first Commissaire Brunetti novel, and I was tremendously impressed. The writing is beautiful and almost elegaic, as is the portrait of Venice Leon sketches -- a city of secrets and corruption. There's no "crime," though the story at the novel's heart is one that any moral person would find criminal or abhorrent.

I admit -- I'm one of those readers who likes to skip ahead to the end of the book and see whodunnit before finishing. But I wasn't temp...more
Sam Sattler
"The Golden Egg" serves as an introduction to me of the "Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries" and that means that I'm coming to the series very late and have no way to compare this 2013 novel to those that preceded it. That said, I will say that Brunetti is one of the more laid-back and likable police detectives that I have run into in recent memory. Of course, his leisurely pace is largely due to the fact that he is headquartered in his native Venice, Italy, a city (and a country) that moves a...more
Set in Venice--as are all Donna Leon's books. This is #22 in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series. They are getting predictable and formulaic but still always readable and it's a pleasure to spend an evening with Brunetti and his family.

This one was a rather sad story about the death of a young man who seems never to have existed--no passport, no birth certificate, no records at all. A clever plot with a rather shocking twist at the end that took me entirely by surprise.

Content rating: PG. Cle...more
Guido Brunetti is my favorite policeman, though sometimes I wonder how he can continue to work in that less-than-productive Questura. His boss is a political hack, many of his co-workers appear to be barely competent, and often his cases end in morally equivocal territory. But balancing all that are his friendships with the coroner, the boss's mysterious secretary, Vianello, Foa, Pucetti and the local baristas. Brunetti's Venice may be the most authentic setting in any detective series. And his...more
I believe I've read all books with Commissario Brunetti. Usually I find stories of the same person boring after some time. I still do not understand why this is not the case here :-).

The Golden Egg adds to this simple pleasure of reading a really good story. I like especially how characters are described with attitudes that are really evil if you think about it out of the context of the story but inside the story they do not get simply accused but objectively described with their context.
Commissario Brunetti is always a pleasure to spend time with. As always, this book is less about the mystery that places it on that genre shelf than it is about the small, more important things like family, friendship, and how people get along in this world. That aspect of Leon's books is probably what draws me to her--the crimes are often non-violent, the people are always realistic and three-dimensional, and the setting (Venice) is portrayed with clear-eyed love.

This particular story is a sad...more
Chad Sayban
Question: How can a crime novel with no crime be interesting? Answer: in this case, it can't - or at least this one doesn't. I had read the first book in this series and it was good. Unfortunately, The Golden Egg moves at a sluggish pace and creates virtually no tension or even concern. Commissario Brunetti devotes so much time to wandering around Venice and trying to solve a crime that doesn't exist, that it is difficult to imagine such a leisurely police force existing anywhere on earth. I wan...more
One of my favorite authors; I have read all of the books in this series. This one was slower, taking a long time for the mystery to come together so it was a slow book. Leon took more time developing the characters of Pucetti, the young policeman, and the other Commisario Griffoni. She took a long time developing the character of the perpetrator which seemed to remain out of reach until the end because no one would talk about it. Italy and Venice as always are main characters as are the differen...more
John Zerr
A couple of years ago, my wife and I were going to visit Venice. "Get a Donna Leon book," a friend said. I read three before the trip and all of them since and anxiously await the launch of a new one each year. If you are looking for train crashes, bombs bursting in air, major mayhem, you should search elsewhere. But for a delicate and deft treatment of a society with corruption just enough under control that God withholds another dose of fire and brimstone, read her books. The Golden Egg can be...more
First Sentence: It was a peaceful night at the Brunetti home, and dinner progressed in harmony

Comm. Guido Brunetti is asked by his boss to look into a minor violation possibly being committed by his future daughter-in-law. But it is Brunetti’s wife’s request that has more significance. The handicapped man at their dry cleaner has died of an apparent suicide and she feels it’s sad that no one knew anything about him. As Brunetti begins to investigate, he finds the man has no recorded history of b...more
Lauren Fidler
is there such thing as a gentle mystery?
or an atmospheric one

this novel would be it.

in fact, i'd go so far as to say it reads like a love letter to venice - a treatise on how people speak, how they think, what they eat - than a traditional mystery.

not that that's inherently bad, it's just not what i expected.

of course, i'm also joining this party rather late - there are, to date, 21 brunetti mysteries that precede this one. that's a lot of backstory and history i'm missing. it's also a lot of ca...more
To open The Golden Egg, Donna Leon drops us right into the middle of what, I presume, is the hallmark of her Commissario Brunetti stories: hearty Italian dishes and a love of language to match.

They work well in tandem. Even as The Golden Egg threatens to overwhelm unfamiliar readers with its vivid descriptions of Italy and a rich cast of characters that have already been introduced in the 21 preceding Brunetti stories, Leon's prose still draws us in. The mundane details of existence sparkle to...more
Cindie Harp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I pulled this one off the shelf in the library. It's out of the order I'm in with this series. I know, I know...but I'll go back even if it takes ILL to get back on track.

This was another great adventure with Brunetti. There is always the crime at hand but under that he always find one, two or three things going on.

Then there is a window into the private life of a Venetian and his family. What a gem!

There is so much to enjoy in a Donna Leon novel; I am a big fan.

She had me, in this book, in the...more
Janet Emson
The Golden Egg is the 22nd outing for Commissario Guido Brunetti and finds him looking into the death of a deaf mute man who worked in the launderette Brunetti frequents. As he investigates he finds people closing ranks, comes into contact with a wealthy family beset with tragedy, and discovers that the dead man does not appear to exist..

There is a wonderful sense of anticipation when a new installment of a much loved series is published. It's almost the reader equivalent of waiting for Christma...more
For me this was the best of the Guido Brunetti books to date. Loved the love of language references throughout the book - from the family's word games at their first meal to Guido's reflection of their language usage at the last one. Then there's the eureka moment when I understood the title. I won't forget the book!
I like Leon's books set in Venice and I like Brunetti, a moral man in a city whose municipal agencies seem fraught with greed, self-serving, and corruption (but that is most probably the case in all political systems). He takes on a task at the request of his wife (a professor of English!) to look into the supposed death by suicide of a "deaf and retarded" 40+-year-old odd-job man at a clothes cleaning establishment. There is another minor task he is given by his supercilious boss that involves...more
Marguerite Kaye
This was a bit of a strange one, a crime story without a real crime. There were aspects that I really enjoyed - in particular the way Venice is described, and the way the various Italian factions are presented which is fun as well as interesting - Ventians v Neopoitans etc. I like Brunetti and the insights into his life and mind in this book were great - in particular his musings on the purpose of language. This was kind of a treatise on language actually, if it was anything, wrapped around a ps...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
More about Donna Leon...
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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