Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Venetian Reckoning” as Want to Read:
A Venetian Reckoning
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Venetian Reckoning (Commissario Brunetti #4)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  3,314 ratings  ·  257 reviews
Set in Venice, and featuring the charismatic Commissario Guido Brunetti, this is the fourth novel in Donna Leon's critically acclaimed series.
Paperback, 326 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Pan Books (UK) (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Venetian Reckoning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Venetian Reckoning

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I really like the entire Commissario Brunetti series because I get to take a break from my normal life and read about fettucine truffle pasta. That said, this is my least favorite book so far. Without giving too much away, the plot of this book revolves around human trafficking and horrific sexual violence against women, which ruins the escapism for me. I just don't like reading books in which sexual violence is a major subplot or plot point, and I avoid them now if possible.

However! The first h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
These are extremely dark books, and this is one of the darkest. A truck crashes in the mountains near Treviso - the driver is killed, as are several unidentified women being transported from the Balkans. Several murders then occur in Venice, and eventually the web of profit from this modern form of sex slavery and snuff films turns out to be connected to all three of the murders. The murderer...I will not spoil this...the outcome is both satisfying and excruciatingly frustrating.
The books are en
Never one to shy away from a tough subject, this time Leon exposes us to the raw, evil world of trafficking of women for the sex trade, and the unspeakable horror of snuff films. Reading a book by Leon is quite a different experience from other mystery books, in that they are at once so cozy in their style, yet so gritty in the subject. It is never a simple mystery, but always a look at the bigger picture behind the crime, the true causes that have allowed such a crime to be committed or in fact ...more
This is my fourth book of her series and I think I need a break. I love Venice and that is why I first strated reading this but so far, it has just left me very depressed. The main character seems in the end, is always left with very little power and the bad guys just get away with everything. This particular one just left me too sad to continue reading the series for now. The saddest part of all is that there is truth in this fictional book and the atrocities towards women still continues and n ...more

It's been almost two years since I read the 3rd installment of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series. On finishing that book, I wavered on continuing on with the series and ended my review that it was a "definite maybe." So I was true to that promise. The time span certainly suggests there was not a strong pull to continue on, but alas when I was looking (needing!) a quick knock-off read, Death and Judgment did pop to mind.

While pretty formulaic from the get-go it was enjoyable enough, it was
This was my first introduction to the world of Commissario Guido Brunetti and I'll want to visit it again and again. Donna Leon's uncluttered style manages to cover a lot of ground—the shifting layers of Venetian society, the Italian cynicism towards its government and officials, Brunetti's relationships with his co-workers and his family and a major crime to solve over many a cup of coffee or grappa with nary a gun in sight. Death and Judgement opens with a transport truck going off an alpine r ...more
Joyce Lagow
Death and Judgement[return]Donna Leon[return][return]4th in the Commisario Brunetti series set in Venice, Italy.[return][return]A prominent lawyer is murdered, executio-style, on the train coming home to Venice from Padova. In the midst of the ever-growing corruption scandals in the Italian government, a very successful accountant from Padova, connectedted with teh Ministry of Health, appears to have committed suicide; everyone assumes that this is in connection with the scandals involving the M ...more
This is a dark, cynical tale of corruption, the madness of men and how men can become so alien from their human side that trading, exploiting, selling and killing humans, especially women, is a way of life and business as usual. The principal characters in Leon's Brunetti universe are set by this book. We have the usual gang : Elettra Zorzi has settled in at the police station, Vianello is the loyal second in command and Brunetti's family in this case Chiara helps out. A new player enters the fr ...more
Deborah Moulton
Human sex trafficking is the subject of this book. In this case, it's the influx of women from former Soviet bloc countries who have been tricked and trapped into prostitution by criminals who treat them like cattle. Mixed in the Italian landscape are the "gentlemen from the South" who have infiltrated every criminal enterprise in Italy. The careful way in which they are regarded by the police and the average Italian speaks volumes about the Mafia's iron grip on Italian society. Corruption as a ...more
DEATH AND JUDGMENT. (1995). Donna Leon. ****.
This is another episode in this author’s series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice police squad. As is typical of these novels, this one is well written and carefully researched to bring out the wonders and mysteries of this famous Italian city. The story starts out with three different men being murdered under different circumstances and in different locations. It takes Brunetti just a short while to tie the three together and provide
To begin with, I have to confess that I love Venice. So any story that takes place there is likely to please me. Also, I love a good whodunit. Nothing's better for curling up with and relaxing. Still, Donna Leon's stories have something special. Maybe it's her detective, Commissario Brunetti. He's an extremely wise and cool person. A murder mystery's effectiveness depends on the personality of the detective, and Brunetti is extremely simpatico. Maybe it's the way her ripped-from-the-E.U.-headlin ...more
Sonya L Moore
Of all the Donna Leon mysteries I have read, this one was my least favorite. Don't get me wrong - it was very good, full of the usual: well-developed characters,plot twists, and the beautiful sites of Venice. This one was just too melancholy for me, full of the hopelessness of poverty, the ruthlessness of criminals and the greed of politicians who always get away with the money.
From Amazon, "In Death and Judgment, a truck crashes and spills its dangerous cargo on a treacherous road in the Italia
Alan Korolenko
Three murders create suspicion in Commisario Brunetti's mind that they are linked. His investigation leads to a prostitution ring and "snuff film" business. Leon has made a point in her previous books of showing the corruption and incompetence in the Italian authorities and this book drives home that point of view forcefully.
Brunetti was a different Brunetti in this one. Still as caring and humane but taking on the persona, from time to time, of a tough cop, something he can usually avoid doing. The surprise was that he is so good at it. He exercised his interrogator muscles in this one, to an extent that I don't remember him doing before. Of course, I am not reading these in sequence so I haven't seen all sides of him yet.

I particularly enjoyed the rehash he would allow himself when he discussed the case(strictly s
Anyone reading the Brunetti mysteries for gentle musings and a vicarious Venetian travelogue will not enjoy this instalment much. For one, it is almost entirely mystery. And even though the cast are assembled that inhabit the next 15 books their characters have not settled: Vianello is more of a partner than helper, Signora Elektra is not yet a hacker, and Paola loses her temper! Possibly least appealing but most significant is that the perspective is almost entirely black. This is a step on fro ...more
My favorite of the Donna Leon books I've read so far (about six of them). The conversation between Guido and Paola in which they discuss the difference between what is criminal and what is wrong is wonderfully written. It tells so much about the laws in Venice, and about their relationship. The story itself is a good one, too.
Another masterful mystery penned by author Donna Leon! This is the fourth book I’ve read in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series, and it had me stumped for the most part. In this novel, Brunetti unearths layers of evidence concerning three seemingly unrelated murders but has a hard time connecting the dots.

When a gruesome piece of evidence casts a dark shadow onto Brunetti’s family life, things become personal and he bolsters his efforts to get to the truth. Part of his mission is to penetrate
Cynical police commissario Guido Brunetti is on the hunt for the person who murdered a well known lawyer in Venice as he was traveling on the train to a meeting. Donna Leon brings Venice alive with all its beauty and foibles. Guido is an honest police officer in a corrupt system that he exploits to the best of his abilities while trying to maintain his own integrity. His wife Paola is a professor of British literature at the university who expresses her political views throughout the book and wi ...more
I've read several of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti books and this one is really dark. Apparently it was written during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s and has some tie in to this particularly sad episode in human history. This was good and well written but I'm getting the idea that Brunetti never "gets his man". Although he always solves the mystery the culprits never seem to come to justice. They are always murdered or they commit suicide or suffer a terrible accident in the end. I would like ...more
Chris Witkowski
Continuing my obsession with all things Venetian and Donna Leon's Brunetti, I have been randomly picking her books off the library shelves, reading them in no particular order. This is one of her earlier books and if it is indicative of other early books in the series, I think I should stick with them. Not only do we get a fascinating mystery, but a real glimpse into Guido's personality, his deep integrity and strong sense of ethics and most importantly his fierce love for his family. The anguis ...more
Don't be misled by my 3-star rating. In the general scheme of mystery/crime novels, especially those with flawed main characters, I'm a huge fan of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series. Overall, this series is 5-star, and whenever I'm looking for a book that I know I will like, I turn to this series. So the 3-star rating is really within the context of the series. I thought that the antagonists were not completely developed, and it was easy to forget who was whose brother-in-law for example. ...more
Cynthia  Scott
After reading so many Donna Leon books, I feel that I am being educated about culture history of our times, and not just in Venice, because so many of the stories reflect the fluidity of peoples all over Europe and northern Africa and the Middle East. I have tried to read them in order as much as possible which has really helped clarify the unfolding political changes of the last thirty years.

As always, this one was excellent and deals with a horrible issue found all over the world : young women
Just couldn't get into this.
Massive step up from previous books. Not quite enough for me to say I really liked it and bump it to four stars, but I solidly enjoyed it and that's largely because it's a step up in the writing. I find this often happens when you read an author's works in order, you can watch the writing grow and improve as the author continues to learn and hone the craft. It's a really enjoyable thing to experience.

There are some brilliant, thoughtful sections in this book and I think that's what makes it inte
Gypsy Lady
326 page edition

Page 9
Italy is a country where many laws are passed one day, only to be repealed the next. Nor it is strange that, in a country where the point of even the simplest newspaper story is often impossible to decipher, there sometimes exists a measure of confusion as to the exact meaning of the law. The resulting fluidity of interpretation creates a climate most propitious to lawyers, who claim the ability to understand the law.

Page 63
He remembered the passage in the Inferno where Dan
A very different police procedural! This detective has a family!

Enjoyed this immensely. I realised that it was something special when the hero devoted a few spare minutes to working out how to spell Czechoslovakia, a task he has to have several goes at.

Investigation in Venice proceeds along different procedural lines to Edinburgh or Los Angeles, I find. Cheerful corruption, official sanction - indeed participation in - of the greatest crimes, limited resources and inventive solutions.

A truck co
This was a dark one. The main story she reveals is human trafficking, both scale and human toll. I like how she uses Guido's reaction to mirror our own. He reads an interpol report and is astonished by the scale of the business which he until then was passingly familiar. It iis like being used to seeing a mountain in the distance and then when you reach the base, being awed by it's scale. Unfortunately, I felt like the ending was a little rushed. She could have kept the story going with more of ...more
Rather than the normal method of being called out, Commisarrio Guido Brunetti learns of the death of prominent international lawyer Carlo Trevisan from the headlines in the newspaper the next day on the way to work.

What starts off as a baffling investigation of a seemingly blameless victim, turns into something altogether different as a suicide and another shooting see the death of a well-known Accountant, and then Trevisan's own brother-in-law. What is not immediately clear is why these three b
Death and Judgment by Donna Leon is mediocre. There is nothing wrong with it, no obvious fault that kept me from enjoying the read. There is simply nothing special about the book, either. It is a mystery novel set in modern Venice. The protagonist, detective Guido Brunetti, deals with corruption, evil, and tourists while trying to figure out the motive and murderer behind several assassinations. At first, there are no hints or leads at all, and a set of a lot of unimportant-seeming characters. T ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Rounding the Mark (Inspector Montalbano, #7)
  • The Marshal and the Madwoman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #6)
  • Carte Blanche
  • Dead Lagoon (Aurelio Zen, #4)
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)
  • 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)
  • 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)

Share This Book

“Though he did not believe, he was not untouched by the magic of belief ...” 14 likes
“Vianello had the knack of getting people to talk. Especially if they were Venetians, the people he interviewed invariably warmed to this large, sweet-tempered man who gave every appearance of speaking Italian reluctantly, who was only too glad to lapse into their common dialect, a linguistic change that often carried its speakers along to unconscious revelation. ” 3 likes
More quotes…