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About Face (Commissario Brunetti, #18)
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About Face (Commissario Brunetti #18)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,771 Ratings  ·  363 Reviews
At a dinner party given by his parents-in-law, Commissario Brunetti meets Franca Marinello, the wife of a prosperous Venetian businessman. He's charmed - perhaps too charmed, suggests his wife Paola - by her love of Virgil and Cicero, but shocked by her appearance.





A few days later, Brunetti is visited by Carabinieri Maggior Filippo Guarino from the nearby city of Marghera.
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 2nd 2009 by William Heinemann (first published 2009)
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Margaret1358 Joyce Interesting question. The ending did lack a satisfying plot resolution. The author may have been experimenting with a bit of post-modernism, in that…moreInteresting question. The ending did lack a satisfying plot resolution. The author may have been experimenting with a bit of post-modernism, in that she opted to reference the insolubility of crime in Italy, rather than staying within her imagined world for a more organic resolution.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric_W
Dec 05, 2011 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who follows my reviews will know that I am a fan of Donna Leon and love her characters. Emphasis on character. If you want action you will be bored. On the other hand if you enjoy character development with occasional lapses into discussion of Cicero and Ovid, not to mention Henry James, and biting commentary on the state of Italian government and the corruption of Italian society, you cannot help but love Leon’s books.

My biggest complaint with this audiobook is the reader, David Colacci.
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Jeanette
Oh, some of the Brunetti relationships (familial and otherwise) do grab some depth in this one. Especially between Guido and his father-in-law, the Conte. And he also has a new equal in rank colleague Griffoni at work. She sounds like she physically fits into a Swedish modeling job gig more than into the police bureau. But no, she's apt!

I wanted to give it a 4 star but I just could not. 3.5 it is, at least. But Paola's remarks, especially upon the readings discussed and also the politico assumpt
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Monica
Sep 22, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another great book by Donna Leon featuring the wonderful Commissario Brunetti. Leon is the queen when it comes to writing a crime book where the actual crime is such a small part of the story...vital...but not the beginning and end point. She writes about what it is to be human, to be compassionate. She writes about Venice in a way that makes me want to be there. Brunetti is such a strong and well developed character...I expect to meet him any now.
Jon
Jun 06, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My faith in Donna Leon is restored, after what was for me the disaster of "The Girl of his Dreams." All the regular characters are here, with the addition of a new one--the fascinating Commissaria (same rank as Brunetti) Claudia Griffoni. She is beautiful, a bit mysterious, and Brunetti is as smitten as anybody married to Paola could be. She looks to become a regular. I hope so. The mystery is a good one and is solved. Justice is done, although not in a way that would appeal to American jurispru ...more
Tamara
Jun 15, 2009 Tamara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Comissario Brunetti and I enjoyed reading this book but the ending was so stupid it ruined the whole thing for me. Stop reading if you don't want to know the end... The woman who was the central character was a victim of medical malpractice and had to have extensive facial reconstruction, but she would rather people think that she had had way too many facelifts than let them know about the medical issue. That is totally unbelieveable to me. Then when her husband lets slip about ...more
Joyce Lagow
Ever since the debacle of Through A Glass Darkly, I ve opened a new Donna Leon/Commisario Brunetti book with trepidation. The next two, Suffer The Little Children and The Girl of His Dreams, were pleasant surprises; while not the strongest (it s hard to live up to Aqua Alta), they were very good and promised a return to Leon s old form.[return][return]Unfortunately, this latest in the series is mediocre at best. It s mostly filler; at least half of the book is irrelevant to the story. Instead, w ...more
Mary Ellen
Feb 13, 2016 Mary Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
The murder of a member of the Caribinieri is the central mystery to be solved, but the solving of it takes a chapter or two of basic police work. Many more pages are spent on the mystery of plastic surgery gone wrong on the face of a young woman who has an antiquated taste in reading and a somewhat incomprehensible allure for Brunetti.

I kept waiting for this book to become as engaging and enjoyable as all the other Brunetti books I've read. And then it was over, and it never had.
Lynne
Jun 30, 2016 Lynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guido-s-picks
Another excellent book by Donna Leon. Another one with an ending that doesn't tie it neatly in a bow for us, but leaves it ambiguous - just like real life. Guido Brunetti continues to be a character who is a mensch in the finest sense of the word. He struggles to walk the fine line between idealism and being a realist. Above all, he remains a decent human being who is an excellent just of humankind.

In this book, the author reveals the international issue of garbage and where it goes - legally o
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Kdorman
Number 19 in the series many will know by now whether or not they like the adventures of Commissary Brunetti. For those unfamiliar with Donna Leon, this is a book about a detective and his case. though unlike many other detectives, he is not some lone wolf dealing with substance issue, miserable a d falling in love with women who will die, he is a Venetian man who has a wonderful relationship with his wife, and it is their relationship and thoughtful, witty exchanges that draw many readers back ...more
Sara
Mar 28, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect face...which does not move with her emotions...and a mind far beyond most of her acquaintances, except for Donatella and Brunetti.
The story behind the face involves a perfect string of crimes, as well as an ancient Roman capacity for self-sacrifice in the cause of honour, in the manner of Ovid's "Fasti."
Would have been 4.5 stars, but for a lengthy excursion into a storage container which was difficult to visualize and could have been shorter, IMHO.
Richard
Well worth reading, like all Donna Leon, but this particular title, for me, lacks the wonderful domestic details that are so endearing about the Brunetti books; Signorina Elettra is not on full form and, again for me, the plot is not quite as good as usual. However, very glad I read it, and Donna Leon, even when not at her very best, is head and shoulders above many!!!
Gary
Oct 03, 2015 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, many times, these books have made me feel frustrated at how things, apparently, work in Italy, the politics, the incompetence, but, for the first time, one of these books made me angry.

***Possible spoilers below.***

It seems that Brunetti seeing so much going unpunished has, finally, brought him to ignore a crime committed before his very eyes. Of course, his wife's getting on her soapbox, didn't help the situation. It is a policeman's job to arrest people who commit crimes. It is up to the c
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Jean Doane
This is the first Donna Leon book I've listened to as an audio book. It was fun to find out how the Italian names of people and places are supposed to sound. It took me quite a while to figure out that what sounded like "kawzy-no" with the accent on the first syllable was "casino." Who knew?! Those who enjoy the works of Cicero and Ovid will enjoy this book, as both Commissario Brunetti and another significant character share a love of ancient Roman writers. The villain of this story is a busine ...more
Bebe
Oct 09, 2013 Bebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Commissario (Dottore) Guido Brunetti of the police in Venice, this time going after a cop-killer and illegal dumping of hazardous waste, and he still finds time for his Caffe Coretto, wine and grappa, amazing man. I am so sad, because there are not that many Guido Brunetti mysteries left to read...might have to start over with the first one.
Dana Clinton
Jun 13, 2015 Dana Clinton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 18th in the Inspector Guido Brunetti series, and a good one, partially because I like the way it ended. Venice and Italy continue to be corrupt, good people still abound, Guido comes across more vulnerable, you learn to like the up and coming enthusiastic Pucetti, you continue to salivate for the food eaten in the Brunetti household. Oh, yes, and then there is murder and general mayhem. You must learn to not jump to facile conclusions, which many have done concerning the young Franca Marinel ...more
Bill Lancaster
Donna Leon's eighteenth book, About Face, is ostensibly a mystery about the accumulation (and storage and transport) of trash in Venice, Italy. It also concerns the fate of a woman with excessive facial plastic surgery. Leon's recurring character, Commissario Guido Brunetti, is tasked with finding the killer of a fellow police officer, who was investigating the illegal transport of environmental waste.
This is the first Brunetti mystery I've read and I recognize the protagonist as a very likable
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Shari
Sep 20, 2015 Shari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incidentally about a face "lifted" to a paralytic limit, but initially about one of Leon's special concerns -- toxic waste, pollution, and illegal dumping of hazardous materials. When the illegal and unsafe dumping of hazardous waste becomes a moneymaker by those not in the legitimate business -- and that seems to be something that too many governments are allowing to happen -- then not only the land and wildlife, but the human denizens of the planet, are all in trouble. Leon handles this subjec ...more
Andrew
Jun 06, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strong on the strengths of this series with slow rich pace and topical comment from familiar and generally interesting regular characters. This "episode" is a better balance than some of the others in the middle of the series. It's always interesting to muse on what was topical during the writing (illegal toxic waste dumping in the mid-late 2000s) and how quickly these things change. The usual weaknesses are also hovering though, such as the cardboard cutout shallowness of walk-on main protagoni ...more
Rachelle Urist
Jun 06, 2010 Rachelle Urist rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery writer is renowned for capturing the color and geography of Venice, Italy. If that’s all you need in a book, read this. I don’t care about local color – unless it supports and helps drive the plot. For a mystery writer, she generates little suspense. A real bore.
Donna
Another enjoyable outing with Commissario Brunetti and company. Leon's books are like a vacation in Venice but with a dash of crime and social commentary. The descriptions of the canals, the food, the sights and sounds are terrific and the bad guys usually get caught.
penelopewanders
This book has me mulling slightly over two things. One is the feeling that Brunetti is getting older and maybe a little more blasé or perhaps resigned. There is an apparently inevitable inconclusiveness which seems very realistic,given the situation in Italy, but is a bit frustrating in a thriller/police type novel. The second thing struck me when I was in the city today and was thinking not very flattering thoughts about the cosmetic choice of a woman I crossed on the street. I couldn't help th ...more
T
Oct 11, 2015 T rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First book of hers that I've read, leave it to me to jump into the middle...Curious as to what the books were like, I knew only that the setting was Italy and the main character is a policeman.

Perhaps not knowing the geography or language deterred from my enjoyment of the book...it seemed a little slow, I got the characters confused, I had no idea of the geography or language. Would that have made me enjoy it more?

It wasn't a very thrilling case - secret meetings, dead bodies, trash, a lady who
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Jennifer
Sep 19, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This wasn't my favorite of the Commissario Brunetti mysteries. There was little action and the end left too much unresolved. And normally I am fine with an "all talking" book! But somehow this one needed something more to it.
Mela
Oct 19, 2015 Mela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scriitoarea e exact tipul care ține cititorul în suspansul absolut necesar romanelor polițiste. Romanul face parte din seria comisarului Brunetti dar fiecare roman în parte are povestea lui.
Bruneți e invitat de socrii săi la o cină unde întâlnește o doamnă distinsă și distinctă. Ea îi vorbește despre cărți și literatură. El este intrigat de fața acesteia, care, potrivit bârfelor, ar fi suferit o operație estetică eșuată.
Restul acțiunii are o legătură directă sau indirectă cu această cina.
E prim
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Christine
rating 3.5

I really enjoyed this installment by Donna Leon, as always I liked to hear news about the Brunetti family, this time Paola's parents were in the focus. Although they seemed distant in earlier books this time I got a better understanding of the Contessa and his father in law Orazio.

At one angle the book addresses environment problems (the garbage industry which is in the hands of the mafia) especially in Naples and at the other angle the young wife of an elderly businessman.

[Off topic
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Victoria Moore
Jun 15, 2014 Victoria Moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"About Face A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery" by Italian writer Donna Leon is a tragic, enjoyable mystery that reads like a breezy travelogue to Venice in some spots and a dramatic journalistic cover story in others. Teeming with descriptions of landmarks Brunetti encounters on his way to work at the Questura, and on his walks around the city, the scene is set for the drama that always occurs when the past meets the present.
Paola, his wife, along with the other strong women surrounding him
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Loraine
Aug 10, 2014 Loraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brooding post modern excursion into corruption at almost every level. Illegal disposal of toxic wastes, hospital refuse, and other garbage is big money, with Mafia connections to business leaders, politicos, and labor leaders alike. Garbage from all over Europe is being illegally dumped, sometimes in the streets of Venice, more often overseas. Is justice ever served? At least Commissario Brunetti has his family, friends, and in-laws. I very much approve of Leon's willingness to explore a moral l ...more
Toni Osborne
Book 18, in Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series

Donna Leon’s novels draw attention to the corruption, the incompetence and the depravity of a society where government agencies live alongside criminal gangs and one may only wonder which one is worst…This latest novel deals with national and international waste-disposal businesses that are riddled with corruption. For those who are fans of Donna Leon novels, this one has no surprise.

The story opens with Brunetti and his wife Paola invited to
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Deborah Moulton
Mar 11, 2010 Deborah Moulton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brunetti meets his match in this book: the wife of a wealthy, powerful man who loves the Roman authors as much as he does. When she beguiles him over dinner and suggests he read Ovid's Falsti he fails to take the clue. Then he discovers she lives the tale, ending with her murder of a Camorra operative.

An integral part of her story is her disfigured face. Everyone assumes it's the result of too much cosmetic surgery and treat her as worthy of their scorn; someone who just couldn't stop altering
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Laura
Sep 27, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
At this point in time, it seems fitting to me to mention that I am on a mission to read as many books in this series as I can get my hands on. I am grateful for my book rental club membership and the fact that they have enabled me to pursue this goal without having to purchase a book. The aforementioned situation maybe coming to an end shortly, since they don’t have all the titles in this series available for rental.

You might be asking why I like these books so much. Let me see if I can explain
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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
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More about Donna Leon...

Other Books in the Series

Commissario Brunetti (1 - 10 of 25 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)

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“Most people — however much they might deny it — had an idea of what they were getting into when they got into it.” 2 likes
“Perception of personal danger very often set people on the path of virtue.” 2 likes
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