Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Death in a Strange Country (Commissario Brunetti #2)” as Want to Read:
Death in a Strange Country (Commissario Brunetti #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Death in a Strange Country (Commissario Brunetti #2)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  6,430 Ratings  ·  439 Reviews
In Death in a Strange Country Commissario Guido Brunetti confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young American is fished out of a fetid Venetian canal. Though all the signs point to a violent mugging, something incriminating turns up in the victim's appartment that suggests the existence of a high level conspiracy and Brunetti becomes convinced that somebody is taking ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published 2004 by William Heinemann Ltd (first published January 1st 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Death in a Strange Country, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Death in a Strange Country

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Alex is The Romance Fox
3,5 stars

"Death in a Strange Country, is the second book in Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti Series.
When the body of Sgt. Michael Foster, a public health inspector at the American base in Vicenza, is pulled up from a canal in Venice, it looks like a mugging gone wrong. But Brunetti is convinced that there’s something more than just an American being a victim of a robbery.

When he travels to the American base in Vicenza to obtain more information about Forster, he’s suddenly told by his inept and blust
Reading this #2 in the series when I have already read 20 other Guido Brunetti- it was hard to star it. I was perplexed between 3 and 4 stars. It's 3.5 stars, to be fair.

The problem is this, for me. Brunetti #2 holds more background information and conversations between characters I've already learned to know in far greater nuance. Informative as that was, it often was too formal in an exposure style to the well-known Brunetti kin and relatives, those especially. And often lacked the sublime dic
Death in a Strange Country is a fairly weak mystery that is tied up in a totally unsatisfactory way. However, I love the daily life of Commissario Brunetti. I would read a week in the life of Brunetti if all he did was walk around Venice and eat. While I couldn't care less about the mystery in this book (though (view spoiler)), I care very ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Jan 01, 2010 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donna Leon's books quite simply inhabit Venice. Those of us who know it only superficially find it easy to recognise and by the end feel we understand the city and its customs and hidden corners a little better. If we have never dropped in at that little bar for a coffee and a brioche, we can be sure we will spot it next time and not pass by.

The crime, of course, is intriguing enough to keep the reader turning pages but the pleasure is the setting in which it is wrapped: the place and the peopl
I continue to be an enormous fan of the Commisario Brunetti series. For those of you who may have missed my earlier reviews, Donna Leon teaches English for the University of Maryland Extension near Venice and has lived in Italy for many years. She portrays the flavor of Italian life vividly, and it's clear that while she must love living there, petty and not-so-petty corruption is rampant. She makes delightfully wicked little comments. For example, the Carabineri major, interviewed by Brunetti o ...more
Welwyn Katz
Oct 03, 2010 Welwyn Katz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in the dilemma of toxic waste, those who like Donna Leon's writing
Recommended to Welwyn by: no one
I'm very impressed by Donna Leon's writing, and I've now read many of her books. This is the first one, however, where I've been left with the sense of futility that fills Guido Brunetti, Commissario of Police in Venice. There is so much that is sordid in this book. The first victim is an American who is apparently honest and upright, but killed in Venice, though he works on a military base. The story continues, and another person is killed. Brunetti is a good man, an "everyman", a man who sees ...more
Clare Chase
Mar 08, 2015 Clare Chase rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in the (now) extensive series of novels featuring Guido Brunetti, Commissario of the Venice Police. I’ve read lots of them, completely out of their proper order, which hasn’t mattered. I find them wonderful, and this one’s no exception.

The story begins when a body is discovered in a canal. It looks like a simple mugging, but as usual, Brunetti isn’t prepared to take things at face value, however much his wonderfully drawn and infuriating boss, Patta, would like him to. The pol
Jun 10, 2013 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-detective
A body is pulled out of the canal in Venice dead from an apparent stab wound. Advanced dental work and physical fitness suggests an American and Venetian detective Brunetti calls the nearby U.S. military base to see if anyone is missing. It turns out that the dead soldier is a hospital administrator, and the only person who cares he is dead is a female pediatrician, who had more than a professional relationship with the deceased. Brunetti investigates over the objections of his politically minde ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Deena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, bosler
At 2 stars, that's generous. I liked the first one just enough to try another, but I won't be fooled again. I can't really think of anything I did like about this book, with the possible exception of the descriptions of Venice - on which too much time is spent, really. The plot was so incredible and full of implications rather than actual explanations that it became extremely annoying. The protagonist is mediocre at best, and his interactions with family and colleagues was never believable. I gi ...more
I think I really like this Brunetti series based on the first two books. I can see why the series is so popular. Venice is so exotic and provides a great setting for crimes and police work. Leon's characters are realistic and interesting. The apparent corruption and shady things are a bit shocking, but it only adds to the atmosphere. The attitudes and way of life is so different from Finland. So much grappa and wine and so little actual work work and paper work. It's a different world.
May 30, 2013 okyrhoe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing, u-s-a, italy
This second volume in the Commissario Brunetti series involves a more complicated story than Death at La Fenice.

The plot (the body of a murdered American serviceman found floating in a Venice canal leads Brunetti to investigate the goings-on at the US military base nearby) is set firmly in the present - well, just after the first Gulf War, to be exact - allowing the author to touch on current international relations and assorted relevant socio-political topics: US military imperialism, the fall
Viviana Rizzetto
Jul 30, 2015 Viviana Rizzetto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it more than the first; and the first had been enough to get me hooked. Donna Leon's characters and plots start off as plain, usual, lacking any eccentricity, but as you progress in the story they start displaying more depth than you would imagine. Brunetti has no peculiar traits as a detective; he's not particularly charming nor depressed and dark, he does not have any special modus operandi or colourful habits. He even has a normal and loving family. And yet he feels authentic, real en ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime Fiction Fans
This is the second in the ever fascinating series of crime stories by Donna Leon featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. I have read others and am trying now to catch up with the ones I missed.

Here, Brunetti is called out in the middle of the night to investigate the death of an young American found floating in one of Venice's canals. His boss Patta, a politically driven incompetent, wants to write the incident off as a mugging gone wrong. Brunetti knows better and becomes even more sure of his co
DEATH IN A STRANGE COUNTRY (Police Proced-Guido Brunetti-Italy-Cont) – G
Leon, Donna – 2nd in series
A Penguin/Grove Press Book, 1995, UK Paperback – ISBN: 0143034820

First Sentence: A body floated face down in the murky water of the canal.

*** At first, it appears to be a mugging gone wrong. But the knifed body of a young man found floating in the canal turns out to be an American soldier in the Office of Public Hearth from the American base in Vincenza. It soon becomes clear to Comm. Guide Brunett
Mein erstes Zusammentreffen mit Guido Brunetti - und sicherlich nicht mein letztes, denn es warten bereits weitere Bände um den venezianischen Commissario im Regal und ich freue mich schon aufs Lesen!

Am Besten an diesem Krimi hat mir wohl die Gemütlichkeit gefallen, eine Gemütlichkeit, die dank der venezianischen Kulisse und des (ich war nur mal ganz kurz in Venedig und kann das daher nicht beurteilen, aber mir scheint es sehr klischeehaft übertrieben, was nicht negativ zu werten ist, denn das i
71. DEATH IN A STRANGE COUNTRY, BY DONNA LEON (Book 2 of Commissario Brunetti)

The second installment in the Commissario Brunetti series.

Synopsis: A young American man is found dead, floating in one of the canals of Venice. Brunetti is called to investigate, and in the process he ends up unearthing a much larger conspiracy.

Overall enjoyment: Sweet and fun, in spite of the dark theme. To be honest, what I really love about this series is the characters’ lives and their relationships; the mystery i
Joseph Longo
Jun 23, 2016 Joseph Longo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in Leon's Detective Guido Brunetti series, and the second that I read. These novels are set in Venice, Italy. I am loving this series. Guido is an interesting detective. He is not the classic fictional detective: alone, damaged, alcoholic. He is a well-adjusted Venetian, happily married, with two kids. Leon paints a vivid and perceptive picture of contemporary Italy and Venice. Venice is one of my favorite cities, and reading Leon brings me back to that unique series of i ...more
Apr 05, 2010 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good mystery that takes place in Venice...with a plot that is fast paced and keeps you guessing. Commissario Brunetti is a rebel, he never lets wealth or prestige influence the way he goes about solving a mystery. He is a one of those calm, relaxed protagonists who you instantly enjoying following from one mystery to another. I think the thing that i like most about reading this series is that, just like the Inspector Banks series by Peter Robinson, you learn more and more about the main ...more
Jun 08, 2015 JoAnn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I had read this book before, but I was not certain until I had read 190 of the 373 pages. I do not remember the ending, but I read it in 2007 and there are times that I had I forgotten to enter books on Goodreads. Previous to the advent of Goodreads, I always kept a list of my books read, and there it was. I hope this episode will help me not to forget to enter all of my books on Goodreads in the future.
Manca (Books and Beauty)
Evelyn Fox
I enjoy Donna Leon's books, but, I gave this one three stars. I found it a little convoluted and not so easy to follow. A body is found in a canal in Venice. He has no identification on him, but, he has
some American coins in his pocket. Eventually, Commissario Guido Brunetti figures out who he is and who killed him. It's not a bad read, just not as good as some of her other books.
The uxorious Brunetti, between visits to coffee bars, traipses all over Venice and Vicenza, with a trek to Lake Barcis, trying to figure out who killed an American serviceman and dumped his body in a canal. Leon shrewdly captures human relationships; the conversations between Brunetti and his vain superior Patta are perfect.
Aug 08, 2011 Elli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this, and this series is fast becoming quite addictive! Donna Leon's love of the city of Venice both it's history and it's present day is well expressed through her character, Commissario Brunetti. And the way he works with factors he can do nothing about such as corruption and privilege in order to achieve the necessary objectives is really unusual and well done.
Jan 05, 2014 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Donna Leon's skillful writing guides us through yet another murder investigation in the series through the eyes of Guido Brunetti, commissario of the Venice Police. This time, Brunetti's investigation prompts him to seek answers from an American army base in Vicenza. Methodical pacing, descriptive setting, and engaging dialogue make this mystery another winner.
Oct 18, 2014 Linley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great detective story with lots of food! Leon doesn't write as strongly as Christie, as cleverly as Doyle or as grittily (is that a word) as Rankin, however they are stories to curl up on the cushions with. Recommended to followers of crime at all ages. I would start with the first of her books to ease yourself into the Venetian way.
Merryl Todd
So refreshingly different from serial killer crime novels with their gratuitous violence and over reliance on forensics to solve the crime....although I do wonder whether the Italian police are really so relaxed in their approach to crime solving as Ms Leon portrays....
Feb 03, 2013 Catie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, crime
I always enjoy these, the Venetian setting adds a gloss and is a relief from the tales of crime and corruption and it is SO refreshing to read about a detective with a decent home life!
Ross Whamond
Mar 20, 2013 Ross Whamond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this. Brunetti delves into the murkier waters of Venetian and world politics and corruption.

Murder and toxic waste.just another day at the office for Guido.
Jul 03, 2016 Susanj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first I've read by Donna Leon, but it won't be the last. I loved the characters and the Venice setting, insights into culture and politics and police / government procedures...
Jan 05, 2014 LadyTechie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great series with a wonderful setting.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Brunetti in German 1 18 Mar 10, 2012 12:53AM  
  • The Paper Moon (Inspector Montalbano, #9)
  • The Titian Committee (Jonathan Argyll, #2)
  • Black Diamond (Bruno, Chief of Police #3)
  • Dead Lagoon (Aurelio Zen, #4)
  • Death of a Dutchman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #2)
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)
  • 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)
  • Wilful Behaviour (Commissario Brunetti, #11)

Share This Book

“And off in the far distance, the gold on the wings of the angel atop the bell tower of San Marco flashed in the sun, bathing the entire city in its glistening benediction.” 9 likes
“He looked down at the glass again. ‘I care that these things happen, that we poison ourselves and our progeny, that we knowingly destroy our future, but I do not believe that there is anything - and I repeat, anything - that can be done to prevent it. We are a nation of egoists. It is our glory, but it will be our destruction, for none of us can be made to concern ourselves about something as abstract as “the common good”. The best of us can rise to feeling concern for our families, but as a nation we are incapable of more.’

‘I refuse to believe that.’ Brunetti said.

‘Your refusal to believe it,’ the Count said with a smile that was almost tender, ‘makes it no less true, Guido.”
More quotes…