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Wilful Behaviour (Commissario Brunetti, #11)
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Wilful Behaviour (Commissario Brunetti #11)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  2,452 ratings  ·  216 reviews
When Commissario Brunetti receives a visit from one of his wife's students with a strange and vague interest in investigating the possibility of a pardon for a crime committed by her grandfather many years ago, he thinks little of it, despite being intrigued by the girl's intelligence and moral conscience. But when the girl is found stabbed to death, Claudia Leonardo is no ...more
Paperback, 349 pages
Published March 6th 2003 by Arrow (first published 2002)
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55th out of 225 books — 154 voters
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350th out of 707 books — 403 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Gisela Hafezparast
One of the better one of the series (although I like them all). As always the crime story is not the most interesting part about this book and like most of them the actual solving of the crime is a bit banal. It's the insight into Italy, it's culture, changing life style, politics and "system" which is fascinating. When I read these books, the paradoxical, frustrating and then again, enchanting, Italian-way-of-life/survival makes me shake my head continuously and go "What, how can you live with ...more
I am going to do this review in two parts one for the book and one for the audio edition.

The book is another thoughtful addition to the Commissario Guido Brunetti series.There is always a mix of mystery, ethics and politics that are blended together to make it an engaging series with a mix of both thoughtful characters and inept impediments to solutions and progress. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and would recommend it.

This was an audio "read" for me as has been most of the series. They are p
#11 Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery set in Venice, Italy. One of Guido's wife Paola's university students asks her if she can talk to Guido about a person being pardoned for a crime committed years previously, but asks in such vague terms that Guido tells Paola to have the girl speak to him directly. She does, and from what she tells him, gleans some clues to figure out who she's speaking about and starts inquiring among his older friends about the man he believes to be her grandfather, and h ...more
This one is masterful. Again, it revolves around art, art collecting and agents, but ranges far beyond to the fate of Venetian-owned masterpieces during the second world war and those who "disposed" of them. Literature plays a large role as well...Paola's teaching and Guido's policing flow in parallel streams of frustration. It's satisfying to learn more about the character of Paola's father and, in Guido's friend Lele's memories, into Guido's father as well. Characters formed in the war, for be ...more
Robert J.
With this book in the Brunetti series, Leon has taken a major step forward as a writer. After the thriller Sea of Troubles, which was beautifully written if a bit difficult to believe, Leon has moved to a much higher level of character development and writing. Her use of point of view alone is worth the price of the book, and reminds me very much of Jane Austen. The plot in this mystery takes second place to the characters, and the Venetian scene nearly disappears aside from the references to ch ...more
Pertencente à série Brunetti (n.º 11) O Estranho Caso Ford foi dos livros que mais gostei de ler de Donna Leon.
Quando uma aluna de Paola (mulher do inspector Brunetti) se acerca dela para lhe fazer uma pergunta que quer que seja confidencial, mal imagina que isto vai desencadear em mais uma investigação para o seu marido. A aluna é Claudia Leonardo e deseja saber, através de Paola, se Guido Brunetti tem conhecimento de haver possibilidade de num processo legal, em que uma pessoa morreu, se mesmo
Dana Clinton
My immediate goal was to finish the first 12 in the Inspector Brunetti series in order to send them on to another reader in the book ray before I left the country for a month, and with this installment, I have managed to do that. Simply another nice tale, well crafted. It begins this time with one of Paola's university students asking her a hypothetical question and later talking to Guido about the same, along with a discussion on books and reading. Her serious nature and quiet solitary nature a ...more
The fourth book ticked off my TBR challenge. It was an enjoyable read - I love Venice and the art-related crime was a bonus. Quite weirdly this is the week that the digital version of Entarte Kunst was placed online by the V&A and a copy of the New York Times had a front page article about tracing the owners of looted art in France (perhaps because of the Monument Men movie? or just serendipity?) The solution was satisfyingly unexpected; the victims were not just ciphers but people one cared ...more
I had somehow missed this Leon novel, and it was nice to be reminded of what a strong writer Leon is. The food, the atmosphere, the family ambiance--it's all here. There was an extra level, as well, as a theme of the novel is people's actions during WWII and various present-day attempts to avoid guilt. There's a powerful passage where Brunetti asks his father-in-law about his experience fighting with the Resistance: those four or so pages reminded me strongly of All the Light We Cannot See and ...more
Nicole Mcbride
I have never read a novel by Donna Leon and so was unfamiliar with the length series that this book was a part of. However, I don't think that you would be lost if you were to pick up this book like I did and start reading in the middle of the series about this Detective Brunetti.

For me this was an VERY slow read. I am not certain if it was intentional by Leon because that is what the Italian lifestyle is like or if it was an unfortunate outcome of the plot itself. It was really hard to keep my
R.J. Lynch
I liked it. That's what three stars means and I think that needs to be remembered because there's a certain amount of rating inflation going on and three stars doesn't mean it's no good--it means, "I liked it". Four stars would mean "I really liked it" and I'm not willing to go that far. It's entertaining but so much of this has been done before, most notably by Michael Dibdin, one of my all-time favourites. Yes, Italy is a place of dreadful corruption; yes, it pays Italian policemen not to expe ...more
Mary Ellen
Jun 29, 2015 Mary Ellen added it
Shelves: mysteries
Donna Leon offers another satisfying mystery in her Brunetti series. I am puzzled that I found the ending, perhaps a little ambiguous, nonetheless satisfying. (view spoiler) ...more
Katie Clark
In addition to plot, characters, and setting, it's the small observations that make this series so wonderful.
Here is a jewel describing a group of tourists in Venice:

"He knew it was impossible for human physiology to
change at less than glacial speed, but he suspected that some
shocking transformation had nevertheless taken place in
what was required to sustain human life: these people
seemed incapable of survival without frequent infusions of
water or carbonated drinks, for they all cluthed at thei
There is a welcomed leisurely pace that is present and expected in Donna Leon's mysteries. A distinct pleasure is the vicarious experience of being in Venice along with the familiar characters: Commissario Brunetti and his wife, Paola, who is an English teacher with a special interest and love of Henry James. There are the family meals, and the fully developed characters which Leon draws so well and keeps the reader entertained while pondering the murder. In the league of Ruth Rendell and P. D. ...more
Commisario Guido Brunneti's wife's student needs legal advice. The student meets with Guido and asks about the possibility of exonerating someone convicted at the close of WWII. This person was convicted of profiteering from purchasing art from those who needed to flee Italy. As Guido looks into it, things turn dark. Leon often brings the social climate of Italy into her novels and this is no exception. Italian corruption and the remnants of fascism are woven into this mystery. Highly recommende ...more

She had been lecturing, recently, on the theme of honor and honorable behavior and the way it was central to Wharton's three great novels, but she was preoccupied with whether the concept still had the same meaning for her students; indeed, whether it had any meaning for her students…. Though she walked through the city of Venice to reach her classroom, it was New York that was on her mind, the city where the drama of the lives of the women in Wharton's novels had played out a century ago. Atte
Toni Osborne
Book11, in the Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery Series

This novel was originally published in 2002, I knew I had missed it while I read my way through the series so when it was reprinted in 2010; I seized the opportunity to catch up. Ms. Leon’s earlier novels are thoughtful and satisfying in many ways and this one shines, it is a powerful murder investigation that has Brunetti uncovering dark secrets that date back as far as WW11.

Claudia, a student of Paola, Brunetti’s wife, asks for help in ob
This novel is less of a detective story than a comment on contemporary Italian society.

Commissario Brunetti is a cop with a difference; he has a normal family life: a professional wife who likes to cook, two gregarious teenage children, and he eats at regular mealtimes, even coming home for lunch. This part is refreshing from the stereotypical coffee-guzzling, sleep deprived, divorced North American (or Swedish) cop who guzzles pizza and burgers whenever hunger calls, but who always gets his mur
Kirsty Darbyshire
I read Fatal Remedies in 2000, decided I liked it enough to go back and start at the beginning of the series with Death at La Fenice, didn't enjoy that one as much, and then forgot about the series for twelve years.

So, it's 2012 and we went on a trip to Venice and I came back with a desire to visit this series again. I picked this one as it was the earliest of the three volumes available in my local library. And I enjoyed it very much! It has a lovely plot that worked very nicely. But mainly I
A solid Brunetti. A student of Paola's (Brunetti's wife) asks how to or if it is possible to get a pardon for a crime committed decades ago. Brunetti doesn't think too much of it until the student, Claudia Leonardo, is found dead. Who was she? How come she has no family connections anywhere? Brunetti ends up asking questions from her Austrian "grandma", who lives in squalor with a huge art collection not far from Claudia. When she too is found dead, the investigations go back to the shadows of W ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Lianne added it
In this 11th in the Brunetti series, Donna Leon explores the concept of honor. Paola, the Commissario's wife, shares in the involvement with this mystery. One of her students, Claudia approaches her after class to ask whether the Professor's husband can help her clarify a legal question. Can a pardon be obtained for someone who has been convicted of a crime? She comes to visit Brunetti in his office. Brunetti claims he cannot answer this question until he knows more about the nature of the crime ...more
Binx Gray
Well, I hate to be nit-pickey, never having read Donna Leon before, but frankly I had issues. First of all, I know this is part of a lengthy series, but I found it odd the way the protagonist Brunetti talks with his wife; they seem to be quite ignorant about certain things (about each other that is) and as they've
supposedly been married for a while I find that strange. Then another thing that bothers me is Leon's usage of Italian phrases, italicized, it seems a bit precious. I know some Italian
Karen Brooks
I am very fond of Leon's Brunetti series and so enjoy the slow, tempered pace of the books and the atmosphere - of Venice, of Italy generally and it's complex people - that it evokes. This book, however, that's set around the death of one of Brunetti's wife's students, a clever young girl who was seeking the pardon of a war criminal and the strange connections investigating her death uncovers, just didn't work as well for me. Sure, it still had all the ingredients (including marvellous descripti ...more
Joyce Lagow
11th in the Commissario Brunetti series set in Venice, Italy.[return][return]A young woman, one of Paola s students, approaches Paola after class with an odd question: since Paola s husband is a policeman, the student wants to know if there is any legal process by which a person who has already died can be declared innocent of a crime for which he was convicted and sentenced. Paola dutifully asks Guido; he, of course, can not answer so vague a question. Claudia, the young student, visits Brunett ...more
Blair McDowell
I consider Donna Leon to be one of the most literate writers of the past twenty years. During that time she has put out twenty books, all of which feature Comissario, Guido Brunetti, of the Venice police, and his family, wife, Paula, and children, Chiara and Raffi. The characters in these books become well-known and loved to Leon’s legion followers in the many languages into which her books have been translated. Her writing style is highly literate, her stories engaging and current. She appears ...more
Willful Behavior gives us a look at how Italy addresses its fascist past. For the most part Italians have not faced up to that past, preferring to pretend that they were all democrats all along, and that Mussolini and his gang were an anomaly, best forgotten. In this story we are shown the legacy of art works stolen by the fascist government and its agents from people who had to flee the country or die. The granddaughter of one of those thieves asks for, first, Paula Brunetti's, then Guido Brune ...more
One of the best entries in the Commissario Guido Brunetti (and family) saga as our hero confronts what most of official and unofficial Italy has tried to either forget or ignore--their Fascist past. A seeming impossible task comes through his wife--one of her students in a university literature class wants her to ask Brunetti if it is possible to have a decades old case overturned. She is asking on behalf of her an old woman who had been the girl's grandfather's lover. He turns out to be a scoun ...more
Jessica Howard
I sat and read this book all in one sitting this morning, which was fantastic, it's been a while since I've been able to do that. The book is classic Donna Leon: an intriguing crime, a frustrating bureaucracy, and the intellectual banter between Commisario Guido Brunetti and his passionate wife Paola. The crime made me a little sad, again a Donna Leon trademark, but I laughed out loud at Brunetti's description of American tourists and their "lumpishness". Also, since I just finished City of Fall ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
"At the end of the long calle, he turned right in front of the church, then down into an ever narrower calle until he found himself at the immense portone of Palazzo Falier."

In another author, in another locale, this might be dismissed as show-off padding; why does it not grate in Donna Leon's Venice? I suspect it may be because the author so intimately portrays Venice in all its highways and byways, all its moods, all its beauty, all its venality and corruption. The reader is led to feel that i
One of the things that make the Brunetti series so appealing is Guido's relationship with his family. After 20 years of marriage, he and Paola are still in love. As Willful Behavior opens, Paolo, a college lecturer, is approached by one of her students, Claudia Leonardo, for some advice about acquiring an exoneration for her grandfather, an art dealer during WWII. Paola arranges for Claudia to talk to Guido, who believes nothing can be done, but whose curiosity is aroused by the story related by ...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
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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