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The Girl of His Dreams (Commissario Brunetti #17)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  2,422 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Donna Leon's "Commissario Guido Brunetti" mysteries have won legions of fans for their evocative portraits of Venetian life. In her novels, food, family, art, history, and local politics play as central a role as an unsolved crime. In "The Girl of His Dreams" when a friend of Brunetti's brother, a priest recently returned from years of missionary work, calls with a request ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erin Reilly-Sanders
While I enjoyed the sort of insider view into Venice, the story overall seemed sort of mediocre and unexciting. I guess I was jsut expecting something more action-filled rather than about character and people. A lot of the book seems to focus on ethnic differences between the Venetians and the Roma (the term "Gypsy" being considered derogatory) and the conflcits between two very different cultural systems, one heavily influenced by poverty while the other is rather well to do but does not come t ...more
Maddy
PROTAGONIST: Commissario Guido Brunetti
SETTING: Venice, Italy
SERIES: #17 of 17
RATING: 3.5

THE GIRL OF HIS DREAMS is the 17th entry in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon. Longtime fans of these books know what to expect. You'll be treated to the usual evocative Venetian setting that Leon is so superb at creating. You'll dive deep into the Italian political environment and all its flaws. And finally, you'll spend time with Guido and his family, his loyal and prickly wife, Paolo, an
...more
Blair McDowell
In each of her books featuring Venetian detective Guido Brunetti, Leon tackles a current and relevant issue, moral, religious, or political, in the context of the case before him. Always in her books, Brunetti, a highly intelligent, ethical, honest policeman is besieged by forces beyond his control to “solve” the case in a way that is most expedient or convenient for his superiors, his political bosses, the moneyed interests, and/or the church.

A man who reads Greek philosophy to relax, Brunetti
...more
Monica
I love the Brunetti books and greedily read this in one sitting, but unfortunately I was disappointed. The first part of the story consisted of a lengthy soapbox criticism of the Catholic Church, and while I actually agree with that criticism, I heard in it too much of the author's voice (rather than the character's) and I found it extremely distracting. I read a long interview with Leon a while back in which she was strident in her negative opinions about America, the Church etc and now I'm hav ...more
Hanna
Bei aller Liebe zu Brunetti, so hat sich dieses Buch stellenweise zu sehr wie der Satz "Ich bin kein Rassist, aber..." gelesen. Auch wollte die Geschichte nicht wirklich in Fahrt kommen und es gab viel zu viele lose Enden. Leon dürfte sich dessen sehr wohl bewusst gewesen sein, denn sie bediente sich am Ende noch an Brunettis Frau Paola mit der Rechtfertigung, dass in den Büchern die sie lese auch nie alles aufgeklärt würde, so wie es im Leben ja auch der Fall sei. Ich fand das eine gar billige ...more
Chana
Commissario Guido Brunetti is involved in an investigation of a dead child, drowned in a canal, how she got there, who she is, whether it is an accident or not. The story is interesting, if very slow moving. Guido seems to do a lot more eating then detecting but I guess he gets his job done, after a fashion. There is a social statement being made about nomadic people like the Gypsies who live in Italy, but it is very muddled or at least I wasn't left with a clear idea of what this author was try ...more
Sara
This book opens with the burial of Brunetti's mother whose physical death comes well after the "death" of her worsening Alzheimer's. A priest who says prayers over her grave comes to Brunetti for help in exposing a scam...but this turns out not to be the main thrust of the book. The Rom, or the nomadic gypsies of Europe, take center stage when Brunetti fishes an eleven-year-old Rom girl out of a Venetian canal. She has drowned not too far from where she was caught (with her brother and sister) r ...more
Kat Hagedorn
http://tinyurl.com/nf2x9p

If you read back through my posts, you'll see me waxing rhapsodic on Donna Leon's novels. I'm not going to repeat myself here. Instead, I'll say, sadly, that I think Leon peaked in "Suffer the Little Children" and "Through a Glass, Darkly". Both of these offered deft social criticism as well as an entrancing mystery. This novel tries to do the same but feels tired, as if she's saying "oh, have I not written about the Rom before, ok, let me get that out of the way."

It's c
...more
Andrew
It is difficult to write a review of this glimpse into the life of Venetian detective Guido Brunetti without providing any spoilers. Suffice to say, as always, I enjoyed looking at the world through the eyes of this detective and family man.

However, there were some unsatisfying aspects to this book ... and ironically, I fully believe that this is the way that author Donna Leon WANTED me to feel. Life is not always a Larry Levinson-stamped Hallmark Channel movie where the guy always gets the girl
...more
Linda
Bravo, Donna Leon, for writing a mystery novel that delves into the underpinnings of crime and society. Italy, like all western European nations, is struggling with a huge influx of immigrants from other cultures. Now Europe must struggle with the problems that have been ongoing in the US for a couple of centuries. As I've said in other Leon reviews, Guido Brunetti is perhaps the most humanistic of all series detectives published today. In this outing, he must cope with the drowning of a "Rom" ( ...more
Monica
This is the 17th book in Donna Leon’s series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. Once again Brunetti is faced with questions of right and wrong, and what the law in Venice can do to help solve crime. The books in this series are always a delight to read. Donna Leon has a wonderful way of bringing the reader into the Venetian life. Even though I have never been to Venice, I by now feel quite familiar with the city, thanks to Leon, who gives wonderful descriptions of the city without going on an ...more
Sandie
This is my second Donna Leon and I like her very much. despite the fact that they are all set in Venice and I have never been there. Her detective is Guido Brunetti. There are lovely descriptions of Italian food, which his wife cooks for him, and which sometimes make me hungry. Leon pokes the clergy and the corruption of the local government in a humorous way.

This book is mainly about Brunetti's being taken with a young girl who is found floating in one of the canals. She is a Gypsy or Rom who w
...more
Jessica Howard
Another Guido Brunetti mystery, where the end is a bit unsatisfying. Commissario Brunetti is investigating the death of a young girl, and a mysterious religious figure who has appeared in Venice, and in both instances comes up against corruption--in the Catholic Church, and in the government of Italy.

The young girl was a gypsy, and Brunetti is drawn into the world of the Roma as he attempts to solve the mystery of her death.

But the mystery is really secondary to Brunetti's (and his wife Paola's)
...more
Loraine
This particular Commissario Brunetti investigation will stay with me. A child, drowned in the canal, one who the autopsy shows has been sexually active before her death. She is determined to be twelve years old, a Roma, and a thief. Brunetti and his team go about figuring out who the child is, what camp her family lives in, and how her murder occurred. Of course, there is another informal investigation Brunetti has gotten himself up to, for a priest who had served in Africa for decades, but had ...more
Maria
Quem parte para a leitura dos livros de Donna Leon já espera ler um bom policial, mas também a parte humana de todas as personagens e a descrição maravilhosa da Veneza actual, e das suas gentes. Este nono livro publicado pela Planeta, 17.º da série Comissário Brunetti, não é excepção. O que me agrada mesmo nos romances de Leon é o lado humano do inspector, que além de adorar o trabalho que faz, se preocupa intensamente com a família e com os valores que quer incutir aos filhos.

Opinião completa:
...more
Trishia
I have read several of Donna Leon's books because I love Venice. As an ex-pat who has lived there for 30+ years, she knows the city and gives us an insider's look into life there.
Since there are already scores of reviews with a brief synopsis of the plot, I'm not going to repeat it.
There is one word I noticed consistently used in many of the reviews and it's the exact word I came up with when I finished: unsatisfying.
I already know Leon's style and figured out that her 'mystery' angle is not the
...more
MA
Donna Leon and her Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series based in Venice came highly recommended. This story (17th in the series) centers around two cases. The first case is about suspicious fund raising by a Christian organization. The other, which is the more captivating of the two, is about a young Romani (gypsy) girl found dead floating in the canal. The insights into the gypsy culture are disturbing and interesting. Brunetti is haunted by the girl as he investigates what happened to her ...more
Nancy Simioni
This about the 5th or 6th Donna Leon/Guido Brunetti novel I have read, and particularly enjoy them when I'm in Veneto, as I am now.
The stories are not thrillers but interesting.
While it's fun to read about sites in Venice, Veneto, and northern Italy that I'm familiar with, it's the look into the people, issues, and customs that are most appealing. (There are more than enough travel books if that is what someone is interested in.)
This story touches on the inequities of how the law is applied to
...more
Janet
I had to give at least one of these a 5. :)
penelopewanders
Another book in the Brunetti spiral offered on bookcrossing. Although I always enjoy Leon's stories, and appreciate the opportunity to plunge back into the atmosphere of Venice, this struck me as rather unsatisfying. I expect this is probably fairly realistic - the neatly tied up case, delivered with a pretty bow at the end of the book is surely a rarety, but this felt almost frayed at the end, there were so many loose ends. Perhaps that's how Brunetti felt?
Not sure this is the edition I have h
...more
Carole Tyrrell
This is another in the successful Commissario Brunetti series st in Venice. I was introduced to him and his world after a successful holiday in Venice and there’s always, in my opinion, an added layer of appreciation to a novel when you can envisage its setting so vividly as you’ve actually been there.
Brunetti’s world of crime detecting is leisurely and centres on outwitting his superior,
Vice-Questore Patta, and amusing the latter’s secretary, Signoria Ellectra.
In this book we also reacquaint o
...more
Toni Osborne
17th novel in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series

True to her self, Donna Leon covers the location and characters and highlights the characteristics we have come to love in this series: the portrayal of the city of Venice in all its beauty and problems, the warmth of Brunetti’s family life and the social conscience he illustrates, also his personal war against corruption.

The story opens with the funeral of Guido’s mother in San Michele. A few days later, the priest who had performed the ceremon
...more
Deborah Moulton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon
I read this at the same time I read Grafton's latest and not sure if it was coincidence or not but they both were not the best in their respective series. This story was more like two stories in one and two very minimally developed stories at that. In this installment, Brunetti's mom passes away and he is reunited with a man (who's now a Padre) that Brunetti and his brother grew up with. The Padre comes to Brunetti soon after, concerned over the possible fraudulent activity of a man running his ...more
Amanda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William

we talk about a story being “ripped from the headlines”. in the case of “The Girl of His Dreams”, the latest installment in Donna Leon’s series about Comissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice police, the headlines appear to have been ripped from the book. in this novel Brunetti investigates several incidents that are or might be crimes, one of which involves a young Rom girl who apparently slid off a tiled roof and drowned in a canal during a robbery that she and her 2 siblings were carrying out.
...more
Joyce Lagow
#17 in the Commissario Brunetti series, set in Venice, Italy.[return][return]The story opens on the funeral of Brunetti s mother, at last released from the madness of dementia. Giving the blessing at the graveside is an old boyhood acquaintance of Bruneti and his brother, Sergio, Padre Antonin Scallon. In the days after the funeral, runetti receives a visit from Padre Antonin at the Questura. Antonin has a request--that Brunetti look into the activities of a fringe preacher, a Brother Leonardo, ...more
Dale
Something has happened to Donna Leon, at least insofar as Paula Brunetti is Leon's proxy. The hard-edges are off, the passionate contempt for the church has been replaced by something more like benign indifference. And Vianello, normally very broad-minded, has become a bit of a bigot towards Italy's recent immigrants. He's ashamed of his bigotry, but it is there and can't be retracted.

Maybe the level of crime caused by the eastern European immigrants has finally gotten to Leon. I'm sure there's
...more
Shonna Froebel
This is the 17th Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery, and it begins with the funeral of his mother. There is a story here that involves a priest that gave a blessing at the funeral and his request that Brunetti look into a possible scam by a religious personage.
The main story involves a young girl found drowned in a canal. She is only eleven and it is this girl who haunts Brunetti's dreams. He is bothered by the circumstances of both her life and her death and feels compelled to look into both fu
...more
Claire
I was surprised at how much description and conversation does not lead to crime solving in this book. I was surprised because the presence of such "extra" detail has caused me to fault other mysteries. Now I realize it is inartistic "extra" matter that I object to. Leon uses it to develop the characters, not only of Commissario Guido Brunetti, but of other "regulars." That there are regular players in the 20 or so books in the series allows the reader to get to know them well, yet the plots do n ...more
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the girl of his dreams 2 13 Mar 16, 2009 03:32AM  
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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...

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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