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Friends in High Places (Commissario Brunetti #9)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,896 Ratings  ·  262 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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Alex is The Romance Fox
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Friends in High Places, the 9th novel in the Commissario Brunetti Series starts with Brunetti enjoying a relaxing day at his home, which is interrupted by the news of an official from Officio Castato, the registrar of buildings in Venice, that his apartment on the top floor of one of the oldest buildings in San Polo, Venice may have not received planning permission and it may result in it having to be pulled down if the papers are not found.
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Before Brunetti can solve this problem, the person who
...more
Bruce
Nov 17, 2008 Bruce rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeanette
Aug 13, 2016 Jeanette rated it liked it
In this one Guido is up against a situation involving the Office Castato, which is the registrar for Venice property. Of course his own apartment is involved and might have to be "pulled down".

As formulaic as all these Brunetti are, I so enjoy the conversations and the minutia of his life, family, and work in Venice. His daughter is 15 in this one and Paola is not on a reading binge and so is preparing some excellent meals. Sausage and peppers, Spring peas with risotto just a few in this one. An
...more
Eric_W
Nov 13, 2008 Eric_W rated it it was amazing
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
Joe
Mar 31, 2016 Joe rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is the ninth adventure of Venice Police Commissioner Guido Brunetti. Guido is one small man with a badge who is continually pitted against the big wheel of Italian corruption - which he inadvertently stumbles into book after book while doing his job - which is usually solving murder cases. These books are pseudo-police procedurals/mysteries. I use the term “pseudo” because the culprits are either known from the very beginning or tossed in at the very end. The series is also very formulaic – ...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
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it
Shelves: brunetti, mystery
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
May 13, 2013 Larraine rated it it was amazing
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
Sue
Jul 12, 2013 Sue rated it did not like it
I picked up this book in a charity shop as part of an offer - 5 paperbacks for £1 so I suppose I only paid 20p for it but, seemingly like many of the Venetians in the story, I was robbed.
I kept waiting for the plot to thicken but it never did and the only way it could be described as a page turner is because the print is so big.
I found the constant references to corruption, apathy and incompetence amongst the officialdom of Italy rather depressing and if this is truly the state of affairs I am
...more
ElaineY
Mar 02, 2017 ElaineY rated it it was ok
I enjoy spending time with Brunetti and his wife but this installment was made full by a rather pedestrian plot. Corruption in Italy? With regards to building permits? Double yawn.
Gerald Sinstadt
Jan 01, 2010 Gerald Sinstadt rated it really liked it
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
Toni Osborne
Feb 12, 2009 Toni Osborne rated it really liked it
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
Monica
Nov 19, 2010 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Karen
May 15, 2014 Karen rated it did not like it
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
Shannon
Nov 03, 2011 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 26, 2014 Sara Van Dyck rated it liked it
Shelves: fict-lmnop


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
Jan 01, 2009 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: serial-mystery, 6-09
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
Dolly
Dec 30, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Shelves: mystery, italy, 2010
I've read a few books in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series and so far I like them, although tend to be a bit too graphic and violent. So I don't read them too often, but I find myself coming back for the descriptions of life in Venice and to learn more about the main characters. This story was interesting and a fairly quick read. Perfect for a cold day in a warm living room.

new words: scurrility, post-lapsarian, aorist, atavistic
Gabi Coatsworth
Dec 02, 2016 Gabi Coatsworth rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
A little slow to begin with, but stick with it. Commissario Guido Brunetti's character, honesty and frustration with corruption in Venice is really well shown. And there's an unexpected but satisfying ending, too.
Bachyboy
Jan 24, 2015 Bachyboy rated it liked it
Typical Leon. A good read set in one of my favourite cities, Venice.
Anita
Jan 17, 2014 Anita rated it really liked it
Interesting. .
Catsalive
Feb 01, 2017 Catsalive rated it liked it
http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/1...

Such a difficult place to live, Venice. So many layers of petty authority, & so many backhanders. I do like Brunetti, he's such a human character, & I could feel his frustrations, particularly over Patta's son's drug involvement. I like his solution to the zitella noblie Dolfin - scandal would be horrifying to her.
Elisa
Nov 16, 2016 Elisa rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of this series, but this book is specially great. We get to see a side of Brunetti that I never knew existed. Excellent!
Kathryn Moore
Mar 21, 2017 Kathryn Moore rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it. Wished he would have told his boss about the death of the architectural student from an overdose. Maybe his boss would get on his son finally. The son could have sold the dead student the heroin for all we know. Instead, he mentioned the young people killed in the car. Do not like when not all the mysteries are solved like who gave the heroin to the student and who killed the lawyer?
Do like the family interaction, of course, and his boss's secretary, wise and clever.
Kumari De Silva
Mar 12, 2017 Kumari De Silva rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: armchair sleuths, mystery lovers, beach book, train or plane travelers
An entertaining mystery that takes place in Venice. I especially enjoyed the detailed descriptions of food. The writing is well formed, pleasant, in easy to read language. The detective a likable character. The pacing, however, felt faster at the first, a little bogged three fourths of the way through and without any spoilers, the ending rather benignly abrupt. I guess I was hoping for more of an "aha" tie together of the issue on the first page.

Speaking of the first page, my copy was missing th
...more
Joan Porter
Mar 11, 2017 Joan Porter rated it really liked it
Very slow moving but interesting. Provides a look into the Italian culture, a little scary. In this situation story it is made clear that corruption is the norm.
Tim Armstrong
Mar 03, 2017 Tim Armstrong rated it really liked it
This is the best Brunetti I've read so far. And it is hardly surprising Leon picked up a Silver Dagger award for the book.
I'm beginning to think that the earlier Brunetti's are better than the last few years as this book had a real energy about it. I wanted to know what was going to happen.
Leon's books aren't meant to frenetic, and that partly is the enjoyment of the series, as is it's setting in Venice. But because of this one I might search out some of the earlier Brunetti's. But I do recomme
...more
Michael Quillin
Mar 07, 2017 Michael Quillin rated it liked it
Kind of the same, good background on housing woes in Venice
Shuriu
Aug 08, 2014 Shuriu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
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
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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 26 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)

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“Well, I don’t believe it any more, none of it: I have no faith and I have no hope.’ Though” 0 likes
“Brunetti’s best friend had often said that he wanted death to take him just at the moment he laid his last lira down on a bar and said, ‘Prosecco for everyone.” 0 likes
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