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Suffer the Little Children (Commissario Brunetti #16)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,902 Ratings  ·  313 Reviews
A riveting new mystery from international bestseller Donna Leon

Donna Leon?s Commissario Brunetti series has made Venice?a city that?s beautiful and sophisticated, but also secretive and corrupt?one of mystery fans? most beloved locales. In this brilliant new book, Brunetti is summoned to the hospital bed of a respected pediatrician, where he is confronted with more ques
Paperback, 316 pages
Published 2008 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Alex is The Romance Fox
Suffer the Little Children, the 16th book in the series and we are taken back to the sights, smells, sounds and the life warm-hearted, insightful, and honorable Commissario Brunetti's beautiful and secretive city, Venice.

A story of the murky underworld of illegal adoption, where babies are bought for money by the rich and titled and the evil that permeates everyone involved.

The opening scene in this story is unforgettable and the book ends with the most unexpected twist.

A slow but compelling and
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, crime-fiction

It's been a very long time since I've read a novel by Donna Leon. For a while there I read every novel in the Brunetti series when it was released. At some stage I missed one, and suddenly Leon had written five more books without me noticing. So it was good to re-acquaint myself with the series and realise that Leon can still give me reading pleasure.

Brunetti is a refreshingly uncomplicated detective. He's not a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, he doesn't suffer from the effects of psycholo
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite Brunetti series so far, I have read about half of them. Mostly, out of order, btw.

But this one has excellent interplay with the Italian laws re child placements and adoptions etc. Lots of good snooping to ferret out the reality. Elettra has to do some acting and undercover too. I love when she (just a secretary?) gets into the mix.

Donna Leon really knows Venice and can write a good mystery for locale ambiance, character development and continuity, physical description. And n
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars really. Beautifully plotted, incredibly sad.
There are some slow moments midway but the interweaving of the characters is marvelous.

Upon re-reading- 5 stars. A bit of slowness is forgivable and the depth of feeling the father feels for his small adopted son is unforgettable. As is the revulsion we feel for his father-in-law, leader of the far right Lega Doge party, and our sympathy for Brunetti as he feigns agreement to get information. But I am getting too close to a spoiler here. This
Bradley King-Spooner
This was a first for me in many regards. My first Donna Leon book (by extension my first Brunetti), my first foray into the mystery genre, my first police protagonist, my first story set in the realworld, and so on. Ergo, I expect the following to smack a little of the kind of delight only to be found in naivety and ignorance, so take it with a pinch of salt (or a few sachets, whatever suits your taste).
I'll get this out of the way first; this is an intelligent read. The option of jumping a few
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
It's always a civilised pleasure to be back in Venice in the humane company of Brunetti. This book is in some ways more about the background and build up to a crime than it is about solving one and the novel almost leaves you with the question of where the greater crime has been committed. It is a sad book in many ways but as Brunetti investigates his life goes on in its usual routine with his wife Paola and their family life of shared meals, wine and books, which add warmth and normality to a d ...more
Jim Angstadt
Suffer the Little Children (Commissario Brunetti #16)
Donna Leon

This has a different feel, compared to most other Commissario Brunetti novels. There is no 'bad guy' that Brunetti has to find and capture. Here we have a variety of small-time, mean-spirited, self-centered individuals who do not seem to care who suffers, including children and loving, devoted parents.
Pamela Mclaren
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
An excellent story from Donn Leon. In this 16th story about Commissario Brunetti, the good police officer investigates the suspected assault of a respected pediatrician.But as he investigates further what he finds is a twisted type of evil where men make decisions that they have no business making and by doing so, ruin the lives of others. You will find it hard to put this book down and the ending is a true twist totally unexpected.
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ugh. was there a crime? wasn't there a crime? do we need to spend 200 pages finding out that no crime was really committed? really? for a murder mystery-type genre book shouldn't there be a crime??
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti Venice-centered mysteries are always a delight. Low key, witty, and descriptive with interesting, realistic characters and a glimpse at the frustrating ways of trying to solve crimes while working around the restrictive regulations and the political hack who heads the department.
In SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN, a pediatrician and his wife were asleep when a masked trio burst into their apartment. The doctor managed to pound one of the assailants on his nos
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is nice to read a mystery where the detective is smart, imperfect, lives a family life, and has friends, co-workers, and bosses who are all deep individual characters. The philosophical musings are even interesting. This disturbing mystery starts with a Carabinieri raid on a pediatrician's house - and issues of fatherhood, Italian politics, fraud, sexism, morality, and more swirl around the truth revealed, not by the detecting actions of the detective so much as the inadvertent information he ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pues me ha gustado mucho porque ataca a los que utilizan a su favor datos privados, chantaje, doble moral y el racismo
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book opens with a startling and violent scene in which a young doctor and his wife are awakened by masked men in the night. The men knock the doctor out and take the couple's 18-month-old child. Nothing in this 16th Donna Leon Commissario Brunetti police series is as it appears to be. Don't assume that the plot will be predictable. It is not, not that Donna Leon's books are ever predictable.
Bryan Higgs
I saw this book as a special for $1.99 in Kindle format, and decided to give this author's Commissario Brunetti another try. Can't beat the price!

It turns out that reading it in Kindle format has advantages. The book has lots of words in Italian (or perhaps Venetian dialect), and I can select the word and Kindle will give me a meaning and/or translation. I used that a lot. In fact, the book focused a lot on using Italian/Venetian words, especially for food. It seems to me that Brunetti eats well
Jan 06, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Diane by: Audubon Book Club Selection
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Babies for sale via illegal adoptions . . . the situation becomes known to Brunetti as the result of a well-respected pediatrician being beaten by the national police during a raid on parents whose children have been adopted> in this manner. There are no murders in this story, just craven behavior--elite couples struggling with infertility who purchase infants from the poor, sometimes exploited. Wealth has its privileges. And it would seem everything is for sale, even new borns. Brunetti expl ...more
Kat Hagedorn
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, mystery

While this book isn't as stunning as her previous one (Through a Glass, Darkly), it is still about a zillion times better than most mystery series, at least most contemporary ones.

Why is it that most mystery authors begin to decline by about their 3rd or 4th book and it becomes unbearable to read anything by them ever again? Not so at all with Leon. It's as if her thoughtful police commissioner, not always the sharpest tack, becomes more interesting from novel to novel.
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#16 Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery set in Venice, Italy. Guido is called out in the middle of the night because the Carabinieri have done a raid on a prominent pediatrician's home and busted him for adopting a child illegally. The wife called the police since she had no idea what was happening, so Guido's team showed up only to find the invaders WERE the police...but they had not been pre-informed by the Carabinieri of the impending raid, as is standard procedure.

The doctor was beaten, the
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love this series. This one is not a whodunit in the classical way. Commisario Brunetti investigates events surrounding the illegal adoption of children by wealthy Venetian couples. Will those unwanted children be better off in an orphanage? This and many other questions are in Brunetti's mind while following up on possible leads to find out what really happened. It's not really his job, he does it for himself. All the rest of the usual characters are here - Brunetti's undercover sojourn w ...more
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worth addition to the Brunetti series, with strong characters, moral ambiguity, and a very unusual situation that generates hatred and misunderstanding, but (unusual for a mystery) not murder. Many fans read this series for little more than the enjoyment of spending time with Brunetti and his wife, Paola, and they will not be disappointed in this one. Donna Leon has been trying for years, with varying degrees of success, to avoid the genre requirements of murder, clear guilt, and appropriate p ...more
Judith Pembleton
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The corruption of all forms of governance in Venice is described time and again in Donna Leon's books. What saves the books from driving the reader to despair is the loving description of Commissario Guido Brunetti's personal moral compass which allows him to find ways to bring justice within a society that appears to have abandoned this pillar of society, possibly prior to written history. The man and his family - their love of food and one another - are the elements that warm the heart.
Welwyn Wilton
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Leon is a wonderful writer, but I feel she is losing somewhere the ability to make us smile in spite of all the darkness. Brunetti loves Venice, he loves his family, he cares about at least two of his colleagues, but none of that can balance the evil he has begun dwelling on in the human soul. There is no light side. When someone writes as well as Leon, it's hard to read her books when one after another is so full of darkness. four stars
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting topic of discussion. Illegal adoptions, people who want to be parents buy children from people who don't want them. What happens after they're busted? Where do the kids go? Their birth parents don't want them back, a foster home is most likely their destiny. Sometimes, "the right thing" is not the right thing at all.
Riku Sarlin
A typical Brunetti book by Donna Leon. Reliable and charming in a way. Though I must admit that there should be more edge to Brunetti - his moral infallibility makes him a little irritating, Mickey Mouse type character. He always does the right thing, and never loses his temper. Come on, show some character! Get properly drunk! Have sex with Ms Elettra! The possibilities are endless!
Mar 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deals with the diffcult subject of couples who can't have children, the lengths they go to to have a child and the unforseen aftermath. There is also a second story line involving misuse of medical records.
Carolina Gonzalez
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it
An easy read. Great story, slow in some parts of the book. A child is not always the answer.
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Ok!! Weird book, not bad, but not good. Some parts were very interesting. Other than that.... just ok
Lorraine Wille
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
what can i say I'm a fan
Suffer the Little Children

Donna Leon continues to write novels that put the reader inside the story. Amazing. Can't wait until the next one.
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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 27 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)

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“You really love to gossip, don't you?” he asked, wishing she had brought him a glass of wine.
“Yes, I suppose I do,” she answered, sounding surprised at the realization. “You think that's why I love reading novels so much?”
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