Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “By Its Cover (Commissario Brunetti, #23)” as Want to Read:
By Its Cover (Commissario Brunetti, #23)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

By Its Cover (Commissario Brunetti #23)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,747 ratings  ·  361 reviews
Few detective writers create so vivid, inclusive and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon . . . . One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever.” —The Washington Post

Donna Leon’s critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting, the humanity of its characters
...more
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published January 1st 2014)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Tina
I like these books, but I'm beginning to tire of Leon's increasing tendency to phone them in. This one concerns the theft and/or destruction of ancient, priceless books and manuscripts, a subject that should be close to my heart. Brunetti's apparent ignorance of the subject and his skillful questioning of those involved so he can make himself smart is handled well and gives the reader at least a smattering of knowledge. But there's nothing deep to this one. Leon presumes we all know all the back ...more
Andrew Smith
It’s set in Venice. Much time is spent thinking about drinking coffee or actually drinking coffee. Much of the rest of the time is devoted the consumption of delicious meals. The crime? Well that’s all about books. It ticks most of my boxes – what’s not to like!

I look forward each April to the latest instalment of Donna Leon’s ruminations on the foibles and customs of this wonderful city, all dressed up as a detective novel. The crime always pays second fiddle to Venice and its people, and it’s
...more
Caroline
I do love Guido Brunetti, but get increasingly tired of Leon’s inability to get background information conveyed by any means other than making him appear a simpleton with the need to ask his wife, his relatives, Signorina Elettra, and victims for information about Venice that any Venetian over the age of 5 would know. Apparently she has decided that dialogue beats exposition any day of the week, even if it’s ridiculous to think Brunetti doesn’t already know these things.

On the other hand, this h
...more
Larraine
If Italy is the capital of the slow food movement, then Donna Leon fits right in with her Brunetti series which takes place in Venice. Like her other books, this one opens slowly as the reader puts one piece of the puzzle in after another. There are so many delicious asides - such as nearly a whole page devoted to Brunetti's gray suit. Then there are the domestic scenes with his wife, Paola and their two children. The book takes place in the spring. This was, for me, very appropriate. As Brunett ...more
Jeff Eastman
Perhaps I'm simply tiring of Donna Leon's formula, but I found this book to plod along in a too predictable fashion. It has all the expected things of a Commissario Brunetti mystery, including descriptions that make one see Venice through Brunetti's eyes. His interactions with his family and the too clever Signorina Elettra, along with his love of Venetian food and Italian history are just rehashes of things that have happened in every other book in the series. In short, there was simply nothing ...more
Lynne Perednia
Donna Leon's love of books and literature has shone in her Inspector Brunetti mysteries, especially through the character of Brunetti's wife, Paola. In By Its Cover, books as objects are at the heart of the story's mystery.

Because this is a Brunetti story, in which differences matter, a distinction is made between books as art objects and the text contained on the pages of those objects. For rich collectors, the objects have more value. For the Brunettis, who live a book-strewn life in which vol
...more
Debbi
(Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy)

How can you NOT like a Donna Leon/Commissario Brunetti novel? They are great books, and like it's predecessors, By It's Cover does not disappoint.

The story takes us into the Biblioteca Merula, a prestigious Venetian library. Commissario Brunetti gets a call from the librarian that several books have been vandalized, pages cut out of them. The books are priceless historical books, and the library is devastated at what's happened. At first it seems like so
...more
Momkersch
I love the Commissario Brunetti stories. I look forward to a new book the way children look forward to Christmas morning. My expectations for Donna Leon are high, so that's perhaps why I was disappointed here. The book feels flimsy in comparison to the others in the series. The characters are flat, the story less developed, and the ending, well, I won't give it away, but I was left dissatisfied. There were few references to food, and rather than drooling over her lush descriptions of Paola's coo ...more
LJ
First Sentence: It had been a tedious Monday, much of it spent with the written witness statements about a fight between two taxi drivers that had sent one of them to the hospital with a concussion and a broken right arm.

Someone is stealing pages from some rare books as well as stealing whole books as well from a prestigious library in Venice. Their one possible witness is an ex-priest who has been coming to the library for years. It quickly becomes clear to Commissario Guido Brunetti that the m
...more
Dale
Before talking about the novel itself, I want to mention the awful job done by the publisher. The typography in the US edition, published by Grove Atlantic, was among the worst I have ever seen. It looked like it was done by a not especially gifted high school student. The choice of font was pretty questionable, and the publisher seems not to know the difference between apostrophes and proper quotes: apostrophes are the only form of "quote" characters used anywhere in the book. This is ridiculou ...more
Neil
Commissario Brunetti of the Venice Questura, the best read detective in fiction (as long as you only count books written before, say, 500 AD) finally has a bibliomystery worthy of his talents. The Biblioteca Merula, a library in Venice home to a magnificent collection of rare and valuable books, has discovered that books are missing and many others have pages removed. This is based on real events in Italy, many of whose libraries have been systematically looted in recent years. This of course pr ...more
Biblio Files
There was a period a few years back when I stopped reading Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries. They seemed to be about everything except a mystery. Although I enjoy reading about different occupations, for instance, or social issues, when reading a mystery, I still am there mainly for a good puzzle and a good story.

Fortunately, Leon seems to have developed a way of writing about the myriad of topics she is interested in, and still write puzzling mysteries with plenty of atmosphere for
...more
Anne Slater
I must admit that I'd read anything written by Donna Leon, but that said, I think By It's Cover is one of the best Guido Brunetti books.

If you happen to be a rare book librarian or just a lover of old books and if you care about the question of the text or the way it is conveyed, this is the Brunetti for you.

Which is NOT to say that it is didactic at all. There are a couple of lovely scenes with Brunetti and his Prof. of American Lit wife; scenes between Brunetti and various people who work at t
...more
Jan
For a librarian on school holidays, with a penchant for crime fiction, a soft spot for Donna Leon and a fascination with Italy, what could be better than a Brunetti mystery set in a Venetian library? Perfect holiday fare. Is it her best book? No. Does it continue to give glimpse of life in Venice and a man happily married? Yes. Does it continue to show the foibles of human nature? Yes. Do we see all our old favourite characters? Yes. So it's a solid 3 stars.

It was refreshing, for once in a crime
...more
Clare
The last Donna Leon I am going to waste my time reading. Very thin and without a lot of the usual colour. Think the time has come to retire the Commissario!
Barbara
The Biblioteca Merula in Venice has experienced a terrible desecration: a number of valuable old books have been stolen and others have had pages cut out. When Commissario Guido Brunetti investigates, Dottoressa Fabbiani - the chief librarian, tells him an American scholar, Dr. Joseph Nickerson, had been reading the cut up books. Brunetti also learns that another ardent reader, former priest Aldo Franchini, has been coming to the library for years to read 'Fathers of the Church'.

Before long Bru
...more
Jane
Dec 22, 2014 Jane rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: myst
Many of Leon's books are sad, but this one even more so. The hopelessness of the killer, the corruption of Venice & Rome, the obsequiousness of Patta to his social superiors, the general stupidity of Gianni & other criminals. Maybe I should be grateful for the stupidity - it makes them more vulnerable to the police.

I do enjoy seeing the love for his wife Paola in Brunetti, and the affection of her parents for their daughter & him, and his respect for her intelligence.
Patricia
The song "Reunited' was playing in my head as I saw that Donna Leon's newly released Commissarrio Brunetti book was in my Kindle. I was transported to Venice and the world of Guido and his aristocratic, university professor wife Paola and their children Raffi and Chiara and his colleagues at the Questra especially Elettra and Vianello. Guido is more than a policeman and the books go beyond crime to examine the issues that confront society: the environment, immigration, poverty, the respect due p ...more
Toni Osborne
Book 23, in the Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

Ms. Donna’s latest inspiration comes from the recent real-life thefts from the Girolamini Library in Naples and has finely offered us a tale that includes theft, blackmail, violence and murder. A rare book thief is the target in this latest installment.

This is a thoughtful and leisurely read that emphasizes on the way of life of Venice as much as on the crime, although as a fan since book 1 it is of no surprise to have anticipated this would be t
...more
Kay
One headline in today's NYT will come as no surprise to Leon's readers: Venice Mayor and 30 Others Arrested on Corruption Charges. Like Brunetti's wife Paola, Donna Leon alternates between outrage and fatalistic acceptance of how greed is destroying her beloved city. The Venetians have always been known as merchants, but this is mercantilism on steroids.

In this case, the criminal behavior involves not just theft but theft that destroys the value of rare books by removing maps and drawings -- a
...more
Sandra
Kritik:

Cover: Das Buch fühlt sich gut an, ist also ein haptisches Erlebnis. Das Cover an sich finde ich eher langweilig, auch wenn es zum Inhalt passt.

Handlung: Commissario Brunettis neuer Fall führt ihn in die Litarturszene. In der Bibliothek wurden Bücher und Seiten von Büchern gestohlen. Nebenbei gibt es gesellschaftliche und politische Seitenhiebe durch Leon. Und auch Brunettis Familie bekommt genügend Raum. Im ersten Drittel des Buches war das noch ganz nett. Zur Hälfte des Buches war der K
...more
Margaret Sankey
Another solid entry in the series, as Venetian detective Guido Brunetti wrangles with thieves slicing out pages at the Library Merula, a crime which escalates into blackmail, murder and the shady history of a secretive Venetian noble family.
Rafa Sánchez
Me ha resultado un placer reencontrarme con el Commissario Brunetti en esta novela, una pequeña obra maestra del género policíaco en el muy exótico ambiente de Venecia, pequeña ciudad de 60.000 habitantes donde puede pasar de todo. La autora tiene el buen tino de poblar la trama de los personajes más interesantes de su microcosmos: ispectore Vianello, los contes Falier, la commissaria Griffoni, etc., una delicia para los amantes de la serie. Sin embargo, todo este adobo no nos distrae ni quita f ...more
Marilyn
This Brunetti book was definitely not my favorite. It was bland compared to most of her other mysteries. All the action (non-action) centered around the theme (rare book theft) and rather ignored all the usual cast of characters. Not much happened. Brunetti, himself, was rather boring -- not particularly clever. It's as if Leon was only interested in the theme of the day instead of the colorful and clever people that usually weave their way into the life of an equally clever inspector. And, all ...more
Ana
Resolvi dar uma segunda oportunidade aos livros desta senhora, mas mais uma vez fiquei desapontada. Acho que há uma clara falta de equilibrio entre a história, sendo que grande parte do livro é dedicado a detalhes que pouco ou nada importam e parte dedicada à investigação criminal é condensada nas últimas 40 páginas ... Para além disso, toda a história parece demasiado passiva e sem grande ação. Há algumas referências (que até se podem considerar como minimanete interessantes) sobre o estado da ...more
Terri Lynn
I love Italy and this book was just deliciously Italian in flavor. Set in Venice, I enjoyed following Commissario Guido Brunetti in solving the case of who had been stealing old rare books and stealing pages from other old rare books from the library. Many of the books had been donated by a lonely Contessa who was desperately trying to earn a place in Venetian society (she as from Sicily) who was a friend of Brunetti's own aristocratic wife and parents-in-law.

While I am outraged by book theft a
...more
Watchingthewords
The Commissario Guido Brunetti novels follow the Venetian Commissario as he delves into crimes in a city full of corruption. With an idiotic and useless boss, an inventive and talented secretary, and several steadfast and talented officers, Brunetti always finds the answers, even when they are difficult to accept or understand. More than a simple mystery, these novels are about human nature and the intricacies and contradictions that lie in all of us.

In By Its Cover, Brunetti is called to a priv
...more
Diane
The theft and destruction of books at the Girolamini Library in Naples forms the basis for Donna Leon's newest Commissario Brunetti's mystery, By its Cover. This sort of theft which appears to be recurring with some regularity could form the basis for a fascinating, complex tales with many layers and facets. Yet from its inception, this latest tale feels more like an episode of "Law & Order"'s "ripped from the headlines" procedural than a standalone mystery. In Venice, the Biblioteca Merula ...more
Susan
Ah, I remember it well. Searching the dusty shelves of the library in the basement of the gothic building, amidst ancient tomes and tattered volumes, I stumbled across a 19th century edition of Gustave Doré’s Illustrations for Paradise Lost. Breathtaking, and I couldn’t believe that the library would loan such a treasure. But loan they did. I so wanted to keep it that I renewed it several times. Reluctantly I returned the book, but I’ve thought of it several times over the years, and each time ...more
Jay
As always, I enjoyed this latest Brunetti novel very much indeed. The descriptions of Venice, the acknowledgements of the endemic venality of its citizens, Guido's family life, and his collegial relationships all keep one's attention. In this novel only the culinary delights were less evident. Now to wait for the next in the series. Unfortunately, I devoured it within a day of its arrival on my Kindle, even though I tried to slow down.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
I have enjoyed your books for quite a few years 1 17 May 05, 2014 02:17PM  
  • The Raven's Eye (Brock & Kolla, #12)
  • The Crowded Grave (Bruno, Chief of Police #4)
  • Murder in Pigalle
  • Il sorriso di Angelica
  • Ghost Medicine (Ella Clah, #17)
  • La condanna del sangue: La primavera del commissario Ricciardi
  • To Dwell in Darkness (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #16)
  • An Event in Autumn (Wallander #9.5)
  • Through the Evil Days (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #8)
  • Whispering Death (Inspector Challis, #6)
  • Vertigo 42 (Richard Jury, #23)
  • Carnival For The Dead (Nic Costa, #10)
  • Cold Tuscan Stone (Rick Montoya Italian Mystery, #1)
  • The Tooth Tattoo (Peter Diamond, #13)
  • Hunting Shadows (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #16)
  • Carte Blanche
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)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“She became his Ariadne, leading him through the labyrinth of books, stopping now and then to pass another one to him.” 1 likes
“That’s probably because they said a lot of other things, as well.” 0 likes
More quotes…