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Alibi

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3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  1,276 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Winner of the Hammett Prize
It is 1946, and Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator in Germany. But when he falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating experiences during World War II, he is forced to confront another Venice, a city still at
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Paperback, 405 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Picador (first published May 28th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dorothy
Apr 01, 2013 Dorothy rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I thought I would read a murder mystery as a break from more serious stuff but boy, was I surprised! This book is set in Venice right at the end of World War II, and the murder that occurs is not a mystery at all. The novel is more a psychological thriller. We SEE the murder happen, KNOW who did it, we know the motivation, we see their alibi in place, we even sympathize with the murderers. But what is the aftereffect of the murder on them as they try to figure out if the victim deserved to be mu ...more
Madonna Valentine
Feb 09, 2014 Madonna Valentine rated it really liked it
This is a well written book that took me a bit of time to engage with as the plot moves quite slowly at the start. The action takes place in Venice in 1946 and events are narrated by the main character, Adam Miller, who has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother. He falls under the spell of Claudia, a young Jewish woman. Alibi explores issues of ethics and morality in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Kanon is one of my favourite writers and this book did not disappoint. I did find the main ch ...more
Dan
Feb 21, 2010 Dan rated it liked it
Much more than a mystery, we get losses here in many forms, the heavy hand of history, the endlessness of violence once it is unleashed; we get the mutations of violence, deep irony, the pain of a good man who causes harm and the tortuous course of his effort to right his wrong as far as possible. We see the ease with which a whole culture aligns itself with those in power without regard to ideology or decency. These themes are tributaries to a broad theme that suggests moral decency is merely a ...more
Jeanette
Jul 15, 2012 Jeanette rated it it was ok
Anything World War II fascinates me to pieces, and the premise of this novel was no exception. Only problem: the premise was about the only exciting thing about it. At times, I was just forcing myself to get through it. But it wasn't all bad. The use of metaphors (especially with the canals) to represent Venice during the German occupation was very engaging. It is important to be educated in how each country handled the occupation and the war very differently, each displaying unique adaptation a ...more
Don Edgar
Jan 26, 2013 Don Edgar rated it really liked it




I really liked the opening sequences, set in Venice right after WWII but I hated the middle chapters, finding them tedious. (A bozo guy commits a murder, and then seeks to help an extremely crafty detective solve it. Actually, he was seeking to "unsolve" the murder, but still?)

However, I absolutely loved the last sections and in particular the ending. Seldom is a crime novel brought to a conclusion as completely and as satisfyingly as was this one. The ending was brilliant and featured no loose
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Sam Reaves
Oct 19, 2014 Sam Reaves rated it it was amazing
Venice, 1946, the city largely untouched by the war but the enmities still smoldering. A wealthy American widow returns in search of her youth spent here as part of a carefree expatriate community. She reconnects with an old flame, an Italian doctor, now himself a widower. They decide to marry. Her son, freshly discharged from the army in Germany, comes to visit her; he suspects his mother has fallen for a fortune-hunter but fails to dissuade her. He himself falls in love with a Jewish girl, who ...more
Tom Tischler
Aug 11, 2016 Tom Tischler rated it really liked it
It's 1946 and Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and to
try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as an Army war crimes investigator in
Germany. Adam falls in love with Claudia a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating
experiences during the war. Adam is forced to confront another Venice, a city still at
war with itself haunted by atrocities it would rather forget. Everyone has been compromised
by the occupation - the international set, the police who kept order for the Germ
...more
Barbara
Jan 16, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holocaust-ww-2
I recalled reading this book a few years ago. It is a mystery occuring in post-war Venice. Kanon is a gifted writer, who has written this, a compelling, suspenseful mystery along with other notable novels, including the gripping historical, The Good German.
Al
Aug 24, 2010 Al rated it really liked it
I did really like it, although by the end I was getting tired and a little confused.
Adam Miller, newly discharged from the army in Germany just after WWII, goes to Venice to stay with his expatriate widowed mother. He quickly becomes involved with a beautiful Italian Jewish prison camp survivor, and also with his mother's boyfriend, a native Venetian and old friend of hers. Complications ensue when it turns out that his girlfriend and his mother's boyfriend had a connection during the war.
M
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Sarah
Dec 23, 2007 Sarah rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like mysteries or moral cunundrums
The premise of this book is that once you do something morally questionable (even if you have a good reason), it's a downward spiral from there. I would say that the other lesson to be learned form this book is not to let someone talk you into something until you know all the facts.

In this book, an American (recently demobilized form the army after WW II) has come to Venice to visit his mother and think about his next step. He gets invovled with a woman whose family was killed in the war and she
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Sharon Kreps
Apr 22, 2013 Sharon Kreps rated it liked it
I got into this book very fast. Loved the description of post war Venice and the people who returned to resume their "normal" lives. The plot and love story got on and I kept reading, intrigued. At some point it turned into pages of conversation that were harder to follow and care about. But I read to the end wanting to see how it resolved. I guess it didn't really. Bleah.
Dgoll
Dec 23, 2009 Dgoll rated it it was amazing
This is a great book by the author of The Good German. At times I didn't like the book but only because I didn't like what was happening. In some ways it reminds me of Theodore Drieser's An American Tragedy, really great book in my opinion!
Jeanne Julian
Jan 10, 2017 Jeanne Julian rated it it was amazing
This novel has everything, really: intrigue, with twists and turns like the Venice canals and byways of its setting; history; love and passion; dread and horror; and a voice that rings true. Vivid but controlled prose; complex characters, who test your sympathies; and wonderful construction.
Pam
Oct 11, 2016 Pam rated it liked it
I usually rate Kanon's books higher. This story was good but the characters weren't as compelling as usual.
Nan
Jun 28, 2012 Nan rated it really liked it
I just discovered Joseph Kanon's new book, Istanbul Passage, so now I'm reading his earlier books as well. Alibi did not disappoint. I adore books where the suspense comes from the moral dilemma of the protagonist, so I figured this would be up my alley. Or canal, as it's set in post-WW II Venice. But in Kanon's work there's never just one dilemma to worry about--every character has a secret.
American Adam Miller has just left the army after being an investigator of war criminals in Germany. Hi
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Brenda
Sep 24, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adam MIller is desperately tired. As a US Army War Crimes investigator he has been working in Germany to bring the Nazis to justice, but it has taken its toll and he struggles with the enormity of the evil he has seen. Learning that his mother is in Venice, he decides to visit her there; to get away and recuperate away from the aftermath of war.

When he arrives, Venice in 1946 seems unaffected by the war. The expat community still gathers at Harry’s, the canals and the homes seem unchanged, and e
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Melissa
Apr 13, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
Overall, it was an interesting, suspenseful read. The description of place and people that the author offered were quite good, the historical perspective added interest for me , particularly from an aspect I had not previously considered, that of people whose participation was more peripheral. Many of them seemed more like outside observers, content to party and socialize while the serious business of war raged in places far removed. Throw in the love story, and a good murder mystery, and it mad ...more
Judith
Jul 12, 2015 Judith rated it really liked it
An unexpected pleasure. I chose this thriller, which was on the sale table, in large part because the action takes place in Venice. There is a map on the inside covers. I have loved Venice since I visited it in 1974 and I have read several popular mysteries that are based there. But I did not know much about Venice during WWII or shortly after. That is the time period of this novel.

Venice managed to come through undamaged. That is, the buildings did. The beautiful city attracted widow Grace Mil
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Eva Thieme
Jul 23, 2016 Eva Thieme rated it liked it
I love Joseph Kanon. Having finished Istanbul Passage, which I loved, I wanted to read another one and chose Alibi for its setting in post-World War II Venice.

While the setting was great and it promised to be a good story, I didn’t like it nearly as much as Istanbul Passage or The Good German. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t bring myself to like the narrator, an American ex-serviceman whose mother makes her life in Venice after the war, and whose fiancé, an Italian, is perhaps not what he mig
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Norrine Thompson
Another excellent book by Mr. Kanon.
Gerald Sinstadt
Sep 28, 2010 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
Where some authors establish the foundations of a series by character, environment, period, and then construct fresh plots around them, Joseph Kanon has the remarkable skill to make each novel new and unique. Los Alamos takes the reader to New Mexico, scene of the Manhattan Project. The Prodigal Spy is espionage in McCarthyite America and Iron Curtain Prague. The Good German recreates occupied Berlin at the end of World War II. Alibi also reaches back to 1946 and the ambiguity and unease of the ...more
Camille93
Sep 04, 2016 Camille93 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barry Martin Vass
Jan 10, 2015 Barry Martin Vass rated it really liked it
It's 1946 and Adam Miller is wading through the horrors he has witnessed and read about as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator in Germany. As the de-Nazification of Germany grinds on, he is eventually granted his separation papers and goes to Venice, Italy, where his mother, now a widow, has taken a house. Adam's mother and father first met in Venice, and both mother and son have gone back to reflect and, in a sense, revisit the past. Adam meets a girl, Claudia, who is Jewish and with her own da ...more
Henry
Jun 29, 2014 Henry rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
I do find Kanon a stupendous writer, who excels at that normally dire "subgenre" the "literary thriller".

Another murder "mystery" set in Europe in the years after World War Two, although this one follows the well trodden road of having the murder outlined, and the main plot following the implications of this on the protagonists, and whether they escape the investigation.

Kanon is superb again at establishing the sense of place. The Venetian setting is a wonderful backdrop, that beautiful city t
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O Babs
Jul 11, 2016 O Babs rated it liked it
Joseph Kanon's chosen period is during and just after World War II. In Alibi the war in Europe has been over for less than a year. Adam Miller has been working in Germany sorting the good guys from the bad guys, painful work. He travels to Venice where his mother has made a seemingly permanent move. There Adam falls in love with Claudia.

Circumstances quite soon lead to a killing. There is no mystery about who is killed, by whom or why. The questions are: will Adam and Claudia get away with it? W
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Sarah
May 05, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
I really liked Joseph Kanons The Good German, and Los Alamos so I decided I'd better read this one too.

The main theme is apathy, and it's rampant in today's society just as it was 65 years ago. Joseph Kanon did a great job of illustrating this in the book.

This books starts off rather slow, but just stick with it until page 20-25 and it picks up. This book is set in Venice, Italy directly after the close of WW2. While Venice was never actually attacked, the city still had many victims of the Germ
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Kimbofo
Dec 26, 2015 Kimbofo rated it really liked it
Alibi largely billed as a murder mystery, but it feels more like literary fiction than anything else. It’s certainly intelligent, and the crime at its heart is almost too complex to follow, but it’s the scene setting — Venice in 1946, when everyone’s trying to deal with the outfall of the war — which makes it such a great read. The characterisation is spot on too, especially the leads: Adam Miller, a traumatised war crimes investigator who has left the US Army and is now visiting his widowed mot ...more
Jennifer Slack
Dec 28, 2015 Jennifer Slack rated it liked it
After really enjoying Kanon's Leaving Berlin, I was looking forward to reading other books by Kanon. This was my second, and I did not like it nearly as much. I was greatly taken in at the beginning by the setup and the atmosphere: Post WWII Venice and the problem of leaving (or not) the offences of the war behind. What, after all, does it mean to get on with your life when there are ex nazis and ex resistance fighters living on the same streets (canals in this case)? So it began quite beautiful ...more
Desiree
Jul 04, 2014 Desiree rated it really liked it
At first I thought this would be a detective or thriller, but it turned out to be more like a psychological story combined with a thriller.

Alibi is the story about Adam Miller, an American GI who has been hunting war criminals in Germany during the aftermath of WWII. In November 1946 he gets his decommission and travels to Venice where his rich mother has rented a Palazzo for a season with the intention of settling (semi-) permanently in Venice.

Adam tries to protect his mother from a Venetian su
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Tracy Tondro
Nov 10, 2014 Tracy Tondro rated it liked it
This is another quite good book of intrigue by Kanon, set in Venice just after the end of WWII. But it uses nearly plot trick as his book "Istanbul Passage", which is a much, much better book. In both books, we know who committed the murder, but the "murderer" is actually asked to play a part in the investigation, because the police don't realize he did it. A clever setup for some interesting conundrums.

But "Istanbul Passage" has more John Le Carre to it, more sophistication and worldliness. "Al
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