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A Venetian Reckoning (Commissario Brunetti #4)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,204 Ratings  ·  327 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)
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Alex is The Romance Fox
We return to the beautiful city of Venice and meet up once again with Commissario Guido Brunetti, in Donna Leon’s 4th book in the Commissario Brunetti Series.

A truck crashes on a mountain road in the Italian Dolomites, killing the driver and a cargo of unidentified women.
A month later, a prominent local lawyer, is found murder on an intercity train in Venice.

Two incidents that seem totally unrelated until Commissario Brunetti begins investigating the murder of the lawyer, who has a clean record
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
Aug 29, 2011 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2012 Katherine rated it liked it
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
Apr 02, 2016 Larraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was nearly finished this book when I came to a scene that was so familiar that I wondered if I had actually read the book before and just forgot it. However, it turns out that I had seen this on the German made Brunetti series and realized how close that series really is to the books. This book, written in 1995, reflect the author's realistic embrace of Venice and Italy. Her books detail the famous corruption that goes to the highest reaches of government and industry. However, in my opinion, ...more
Jun 24, 2015 Berit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine  Mustread
Mar 06, 2016 Catherine Mustread rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, italy
Set in Venice, the Commissario Brunetti series focuses on Guido Brunetti, a veteran police detective, who finds himself in this book, trying to solve several similar murders which are not easily connected. Brunetti's wife, Paola, and teenage daughter make cameo appearances. Paola seems a strong-willed and opinionated woman, who I would like to see play a more major role in the series.

The horrors of human trafficking, abusive sex practices and videos of murderous sex scenes don't make for pleasan

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
Dec 16, 2012 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Feb 18, 2010 Deborah Moulton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mal Warwick
Mar 07, 2016 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though she has lived in Venice for more than a quarter-century, Donna Leon has insisted that the Commissario Brunetti series of detective novels she sets in Venice not be translated from English into Italian. There’s no mystery here. Leon’s picture of Italian society is merciless.

In Death and Judgment, the fourth in her Commissario Brunetti series, Leon writes, “villains ruled the land. All, or what seemed like all, of the major political figures who had ruled the country since Brunetti was a ch
Camilla Tilly
Feb 22, 2016 Camilla Tilly rated it really liked it
It's difficult not liking a Commissario Brunetti novel. I have taken a break from them with British country house murders in the 1920s and reading this book was really a shock, getting back to the crass reality of the 21st Century even if these books are more likely to have taken place in the 1990s, pre Euro. There is nothing cozy about it except Brunetti's dinners with his family and knowing the atmosphere in Venezia by own experience. Had this been TV, they would have announced beforehand that ...more
Oct 24, 2015 Knitme23 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Donna Leon as a general rule, but I didn't read much of her for a while and I remember wondering why I'd fallen out of the habit. I had a vague recollection of finding her books really dark and depressing, though I have found her more recent Brunetti novels truly enjoyable.

I reread (I am pretty sure I've read it before) Death and Judgment when I found it at a book sale, and now I remember why I thought her books were dark. It's got all the good Brunetti stuff I love: those lunches! That
Apr 24, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 02, 2014 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 11, 2014 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 11, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have really enjoyed the other Donna Leon books that I've read and this one was also eminently readable, but somehow less satisfying for me.

Leon is very skillful at weaving in her plots the venality of public officials and the Commissario's frustration with the system. This book was no different in that respect, but the subject matter was darker and the dreariness a bit unrelenting for me.

I am used to enjoying the Brunetti's loving family dynamic and the frequent descriptions of their meals. T
Michael Johnston
Another in the wonderful Commissario Guido Brunetti crime series. Spare with words and story, the book moves with lightning speed to a shocking surprise ending. Like all books in the series, our hero has to put up with the ignorance and incompetence of his boss (and others in the police force) and the conspiracy of criminals that always seem to be at the heart of every evil deed he investigates.

This entry in the series, however, was darker and more cynical than any I've read so far. As a general
Jun 10, 2016 Sandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

This is my first book from Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti mystery series. The tenacious Venetian, Commisario Brunetti, is somewhat of a blend of Columbo, without the wrinkled coat, and Monk, without the OCD characteristics. It is the 14th in a series of nearly 30 Brunetti books.

Death and Judgement is a straightforward mystery, similar to those you may have read or seen in a film. It begins with an overturned truck in snow covered mountains in Northern Italy. Scattered in the debris are 8 w
Marloes Van baren
The movie would probably be better than the book in this case. I would love to watch this in a modern crime noir series. However, it's probably a nice book if you like this genre and aren't looking for the most profound literary experience.

At first I felt the writing was very bland but it seemed to improve later on. Perhaps that was just my perception though, influenced by the book read before it (Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz).
The setting, Venice in the nineties, definitely adds charm to t
Dec 27, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: donna-leon
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
P.A. Wilson
Dec 13, 2015 P.A. Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of you who follow Donna Leon's Venetian detective, this is an older one in the series, but you can be sure it's full of the warmth and horror of all the others.

If you aren't familiar with Guido Brunetti, his co-workers and his family, you'll love getting to know this series of mysteries set in Venice. It's always about the politics and it's always about the corruption, but somehow, Brunetti always figures it out.

This is not a cozy mystery, the crimes are vicious and venal. Women are b
Oct 24, 2013 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kate  K. F.
Mar 13, 2016 Kate K. F. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As this series go on, I keep thinking more about Sam Vimes and the Discworld books, because Brunetti and Vimes are both aware of the corruption and awfulness in their worlds. Vimes is able to make a difference at times, so is Brunetti but it never comes easily. This was one of the more difficult books because Brunetti figured out who was behind a murder and why, but couldn't do anything. As with the other books, Death and Judgement takes on an important and hard issue; sex trafficking. Leon's wr ...more
Jun 25, 2014 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 25 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)

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“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
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