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Friends in High Places (Commissario Brunetti #9)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  2,767 ratings  ·  192 reviews
When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat investigating the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years earlier, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant government department. But when the bureaucrat rings Brunetti at work, clearly scared, and is ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published March 2001 by Arrow Books (first published 2000)
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Othello by William ShakespeareThe Merchant of Venice by William ShakespeareDeath in Venice and Other Tales by Thomas MannVenetian Love Knots by Normandie AllemanIn the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
Books Set in Venice
41st out of 224 books — 152 voters
The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha ChristieLord Edgware Dies by Agatha ChristieDead Man's Ransom by Ellis PetersThe Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan DoyleOriginal Sin by P.D. James
Best Book 9s in a Series
30th out of 158 books — 19 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric_W
I'm surprised to see some of the negative ratings here. Perhaps it's because you need to get to know the characters and appreciate the interplay between Guido, his wife, Paula, and his children. Or, it could be that some folks just prefer action-packed shoot-em-ups rather (I can appreciate those too) than character and place studies. I suspect if you like DeKok and Maigret these will really appeal to you.

That being said, I really enjoyed Anna Fields reading this 9th in the series. Again, Italian
...more
Bruce
I read Friends in High Places by Donna Leon as an “airplane book” when I’d finished something more interesting and was curious to read a novel that might capture the ambiance of Venice. To call this a “light read” would be an understatement, it being less than even mildly entertaining. The writing itself is simple to the point of being boring, and the plot lacks intrinsic interest even as Leon introduces subplots that go nowhere and end up having little if anything to do with the primary mystery ...more
Suzy
I love Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti series! All the things that contribute to a good mystery - a rich recurring cast of characters with lots of ongoing dynamics, murders where the whodunit isn't easily guessable and plot twists and turns to keep things moving along. The bonus in these stories is Venice, as much of a character as the humans who populate Leon's novels. I love the leisurely pace of these stories, reflecting the relaxed culture of Venice.

I enjoyed this story of corruption in th
...more
Joyce Lagow
Friends in High Places[return]Donna Leon[return][return]9th in the Commisario Brunetti series, set in Venice, Italy.[return][return]Brunetti receives a visitor from the Officio Castato, the Registration Office, that controls permits and titles to all property in Venice. The visitor, Franco Rossi, tells a totally panicked Brunetti that because there is no record of the renovations that constitute his apartment to the building, the best he can hope for is a huge fine but the possibility exists tha ...more
Larraine
In this Inspector Brunetti, first published in 2000, police Comissario Brunetti takes on an investigation after getting a visit from a young employee of the government agency that oversees building permits. He is following up on a letter that Brunetti had received that was so full of government gibberish that he gave up on it. Now the young man is telling him that there's a problem with the apartment he and his wife bought 12 years before. Apparently it was built atop a 15th century building sho ...more
Toni Osborne
Also under the title "The Dark Side of Venice"

(The ninth book in the Guido Brunetti series)

One day, Commissario Brunetti is visited by Franco Rossi, a young bureaucrat concerned about the lack of official approval to build his apartment years before. There are no existing plans for this addition in the registry's office; in fact, on record, the flat was never built. The Brunetti family fears a blackmail scenario, resulting in demolition or an enormous fine even though the original construction w
...more
Jeanne
Commissario Guido Brunetti is reading in his apartment one lazy Saturday afternoon, when he is interrupted by the doorbell. Franco Rossi, from the housing department, has dropped by to question why plans for Brunetti’s apartment building do not include any for the Brunetti’s top floor apartment. If plans cannot be found showing approval for the addition of this apartment, it might have to be demolished! So much for a relaxing Saturday. But Brunetti does his best to ignore the matter until he is ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Much crime fiction is transportable. Change the names of the streets, adjust the thermometer, translate the ciao's and the auf widersehen's and the seeya's and the actual mechanics of the plot will often work as well in Rome as they do in Boston or Berlin. But not with Donna Leon's novels. Venice is more than a backdrop; the culture of the city is integral to the fabric of the story. For sure there are other corrupt communities in the world but perhaps none quite like the claustrophobic backscra ...more
Monica
This is the 9th book in the series, and proves to be just as entertaining as the previous eight.

"When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat concerned to investigate the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years before, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, even a cop, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant local government department. But when the bureaucrat rings him at work, clearly scared by some infor
...more
Shannon
This installment included two different stories regarding corruption in the finance/loan sharking in Venice and drugs sold to young adults. It's two different and unrelated stories and this would have been much, much better if it'd focused on one story or the other. Patta's son is arrested for drug dealing and a young man dies of an overdose and another group of kids are killed/injured in a car accident - I suppose there was a connection but it was never really clarified. A building inspector di ...more
Sara Van Dyck


The plot is lightweight, but what I like about this book is probably true of other Commissario Brunetti mysteries, the atmosphere and setting: Venice, campos, and sliding down the canals. Then there’s the acknowledgment of how pervasive corruption is, with moneylenders, bribes, a city decaying from negligence. I wonder how the Venetians feel about Leon’s portrayal of their body politic?

I also enjoy the complicated psychological and ethical considerations, especially facing the reality that witho
...more
Kristen
In Donna Leon's Friends in High Places, the 9th book in the Commissario Brunnetti Italian mystery series, we were introduced to another suspenseful mystery in beautiful Italy. It all started when a young bureaucrat visited Guido to investigate the lack of official approval for his apartment building, his first impression was on who he knows to bring pressure on that government department. But when he rung him at work and sounded scared, he was late found dead when he had fallen from some scaffol ...more
Bachyboy
Typical Leon. A good read set in one of my favourite cities, Venice.
Dana Clinton
Making steady progress through this delightful series; this is the tenth. Once again, we know all the answers, and we know that Brunetti will not see the guilty punished, although he exacts a rather impressive revenge at the end on one of the truly guilty that will most likely be more hard for that person to bear than any jail time would have been. This story begins with a mild mannered building officer showing up at the Brunetti's apartment (not knowing Guido is a Commissario) and claiming the ...more
Lois
Brunetti comes to the aid of his superior, Vice-Questure Patta when Patta's son is arrested to selling drugs. Later on, the death of a young student from an overdose adds to Brunetti's concern over drug trafficking and his own children. Ever thoughtful, Brunetti and Paola consider how they themselves avoided the attraction of drug usage.
In the meantime, Brunetti is visited by an earnest young bureaucrat who is working for a government office which seems to be updating information about restorati
...more
Margaret
Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti books are always a pleasure. I like the man, I like his family, I love the meals he eats, and I always become involved in the plot. In a country where corruption and Mafia-led intrigues are the norm, Brunetti himself is incorruptible, but he's a fallible and entirely likeable detective.

This time, he has a moral dilemma himself. Does he really have title to his apartment? And if not, should he pull the strings to regularise his position? While he's mulling things
...more
Karen
I read this for a book club; it’s the 9th in a series of crime novels based on detective Brunetti, and set in Venice. As a fan of crime thrillers I looked forward to reading a Venetian one, but alas I was disappointed. I found the characters undeveloped and the plot rather weak and meandering, with dead ends and unresolved crimes . It didn’t really evoke much of a sense of Venice for me either, apart from the underlying corruption of the local government and links with various criminals. Brunett ...more
Mark
It starts with three chapters about Venice bureaucracy over building permits so I seriously considered giving up. But then the police procedural kicks in as a bureaucrat ends up dead. It’s a solid, very well-written, kind of high-brow mystery with a well-considered philosophical discussion about using friends to get out of legal trouble, for things small and big. This is supposed to be her best book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series, winning a Silver Dagger award. But it just didn’t compe ...more
Jean Doane
My friends John Bentley and Millie Hoelscher from church got me started reading Donna Leon's mysteries, set in Venice, featuring Commisario of Police Guido Brunetti. We borrow these novels from the book cart at church--a good way to keep books circulating. I love the uniquely Venetian touches that lend verisimilitude to these novels: traveling the canals, using the vaparetto (the water taxi), the Italian names and phrases throughout the story. Like most detective series, these novels are escape ...more
Dany
Friends in High Places (Comissario Brunetti #9) by Donna Leon Comissario Brunetti is visited by a building inspector who tells him there are some irregularities with his apartment. A few weeks later, that same inspector calls him, telling him he thinks there's something weird in the place where he works, but never gets the chance to explain. He is dead within the next 24 hours. Everything seems like an accident, but Brunetti has lived in Venetia long enough to know nothing is so simple.

Although
...more
Michelle
This mystery novel involves the same characters as her other novels. It's a harmless read. I get a little frustrated by the plot lines that go nowhere, but it strikes me as more typical in a real police investigation as they investigate leads that aren't related. I'm more used to everything going somewhere, so I am learning to ignore the red herrings. It does not make me want to visit or live in Venice since the whole city seems lazy and corrupt. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. Nothing ...more
Kit Howard
I have little patience with politics and keeping track of favours, so this book deeply convinced me that I should never ever live in Venice lol. This is, at least in part, because of the utterly convincing portrait Leon paints of the city, who is as much a character in the novel as Brunetti, the primary character. The story is, as always, beautifully crafted and engaging, with characters who are, despite the bone-deep corruption that guides them, amusing and believable. Brunetti's constant strug ...more
Shuriu
"It was when I was washing the windows, and that's what made me think of you," she added, surprising him.
"Why the windows?"
"I was washing them, and then I did the mirror in the bathroom, and that's when I thought of what you do."
He knew she'd continue, even if he said nothing, but he also knew she liked to be encouraged, so he asked, "And?"
"When you clean a window," she said, eyes on his, "you have to open it and pull it toward you, and when you do that, the angle of the light that's coming
...more
Graham Tapper
When Brunetti's wife is found in the early hours of the morning sitting outside the office of a local travel agent, whose window lies smashed on the ground, it seems that his day could not get any worse. She is protesting about arranged sex tours to the Far East. She wants them stopped, and if the Law won't do it, she will.

When an official from Venice's local planning organisation turns up at Brunetti's top floor apartment, it signals the start of a moral dilemma for the honest detective. When t
...more
Nikki
One of the things that's fun about reading Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti series is that it gives you a sense of what it's like to live in Italy, and specifically in Venice. The bureaucratic nonsense and the corruption obviously drive Brunetti crazy -- and yet we can see that he would not, could not, live anywhere else than Venice. In this book, Brunetti's family apartment is threatened with demolition because no one can find that permits were issued for its construction (it's a mid-20th-century ad ...more
Annabelle
Commissario Burnetti angst his way through the winding calles of Venice, and eats amazing lunches that his wife, Paola, a professor, who does not seem to work much. She shells fresh peas for lunch to make a risotto. He succeeds with a great deal of cunning and stress to find justice amidst a system buried with bureaucracy and under the shadow of bribes and the mafia. The background themes of this book are drug use by teens. A young official of planning and zoning questions Burnetti’s and Paola’s ...more
Katya
This is more of a review of Donna Leon the writer than of this book in particular (even though I thought it was great).

At the moment, Leon is my top choice for (winter-time?) "beach - book" lit.

Leon is a consistent writer, as I like my trashy murder-mystery novelists to be, but she doesn't lapse into predictability. Her plot style can occasionally err on the side of the conspiracy- theorist (the government and the Mafia frequently ending up at the center of what originally seems to be a personal
...more
LJ
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES (Pol. Proc.-Comm. Guido Brunetti-Italy-Cont) – VG+
Leon, Donna – 9th in series
Arrow Books, 2001, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9780099269328

First sentence: When the doorbell rang, Brunetti lay supine on the sofa in his living room, a book propped open on his stomach.

Commissario Guido Brunetti’s lazy Saturday is interrupted by a visit from Franco Rossi of the Ufficio Catasto. There is a question about the legality of Guido’s apartment. Rossi’s fear of heights is apparent when Guido t
...more
Spuddie
#9 Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery set in Venice, Italy. Guido gets a big surprise one lazy Saturday morning when Franco Rossi, an official from the housing commission pays him a visit to essentially tell him that his apartment doesn't exist. In reviewing and reconciling building permits and architectural plans, it seems his downstairs neighbor has the top floor of his apartment building and any permits and building done after that is null and void. Rossi tells him the commission will be in t ...more
Sheila
The book is set in Italy where Commissario Brunetti is a top cop. This one starts out with a housing official coming to Brunetti's 4th floor apartment to inform him that the paperwork for the city of Venice doesn't show there is a 4th floor even on the building. Evidently they have huge fines AND the work that has been done on a building has to be undone.

Then a few days later the building inspector is found dead and Brunetti investigates. Several seemingly unrelated murders follow but it all com
...more
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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
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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)
  • A Sea of Troubles (Commissario Brunetti, #10)
  • Wilful Behaviour (Commissario Brunetti, #11)
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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