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About Face (Commissario Brunetti, #18)
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About Face (Commissario Brunetti #18)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  3,474 Ratings  ·  410 Reviews
After an investigator from the Carabiniere looking into the illegal hauling of garbage asks for a favor, Brunetti soon finds himself in the middle of murder and corruption more dangerous than anything he's seen before.
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published April 8th 2009 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 2009)
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Margaret1358 Joyce Interesting question. The ending did lack a satisfying plot resolution. The author may have been experimenting with a bit of post-modernism, in that…moreInteresting question. The ending did lack a satisfying plot resolution. The author may have been experimenting with a bit of post-modernism, in that she opted to reference the insolubility of crime in Italy, rather than staying within her imagined world for a more organic resolution.(less)

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Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it

This is the 18th book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series, which is set in Venice, Italy.

Police Commissario Guido Brunetti and his wife Paola have been invited to dine at the home of Paola's wealthy, aristocratic parents - Conte and Contessa Falier - so Guido can meet businessman Maurizio Cataldo. Cataldo wants the Count to invest in China with him and Falier - a cautious man - asks his son-in-law to check the businessman out.

At the elegant dinner, Guido is seated near Cataldo's mu
Jun 15, 2009 rated it liked it
I am a big fan of Comissario Brunetti and I enjoyed reading this book but the ending was so stupid it ruined the whole thing for me. Stop reading if you don't want to know the end... The woman who was the central character was a victim of medical malpractice and had to have extensive facial reconstruction, but she would rather people think that she had had way too many facelifts than let them know about the medical issue. That is totally unbelieveable to me. Then when her husband lets slip about ...more
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Anyone who follows my reviews will know that I am a fan of Donna Leon and love her characters. Emphasis on character. If you want action you will be bored. On the other hand if you enjoy character development with occasional lapses into discussion of Cicero and Ovid, not to mention Henry James, and biting commentary on the state of Italian government and the corruption of Italian society, you cannot help but love Leon’s books.

My biggest complaint with this audiobook is the reader, David Colacci.
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Yet another great book by Donna Leon featuring the wonderful Commissario Brunetti. Leon is the queen when it comes to writing a crime book where the actual crime is such a small part of the story...vital...but not the beginning and end point. She writes about what it is to be human, to be compassionate. She writes about Venice in a way that makes me want to be there. Brunetti is such a strong and well developed character...I expect to meet him any now.
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Oh, some of the Brunetti relationships (familial and otherwise) do grab some depth in this one. Especially between Guido and his father-in-law, the Conte. And he also has a new equal in rank colleague Griffoni at work. She sounds like she physically fits into a Swedish modeling job gig more than into the police bureau. But no, she's apt!

I wanted to give it a 4 star but I just could not. 3.5 it is, at least. But Paola's remarks, especially upon the readings discussed and also the politico assumpt
Dave Szostak
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Leisured. but sturdy, Venetian procedural.
Sep 04, 2009 rated it liked it
I love Leon's characters--Venitian Police Commissioner Guido Brunetti, his colleagues, and his family. These relationships are well developed, believable, and crafted with humor and love. I was tired of her American bashing in previous book and happy that this quirk of the American-born ex-pat Leon was absent from this latest instalment. However, there does seem to be a pattern of developing one mystery quite thoroughly but then not resolving it. A secondary, or offshoot, mystery is usually reso ...more
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
My faith in Donna Leon is restored, after what was for me the disaster of "The Girl of his Dreams." All the regular characters are here, with the addition of a new one--the fascinating Commissaria (same rank as Brunetti) Claudia Griffoni. She is beautiful, a bit mysterious, and Brunetti is as smitten as anybody married to Paola could be. She looks to become a regular. I hope so. The mystery is a good one and is solved. Justice is done, although not in a way that would appeal to American jurispru ...more
Moushine Zahr
This title is the first novel I read from American author Donna Leon, but it is the 18th novel of the Commissaire Brunetti investigation. I guess it is nice to finally read police stories in which the main officer has a family, a functionnal family, and a personnal life beyond his job unlike the too many stories and TV series we're very familiar with. However, there is little action and little suspense in this book. I am not thrilled by this particular book, but I'll give another try to another ...more
Teresa D
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
just get better
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Ever since the debacle of Through A Glass Darkly, I ve opened a new Donna Leon/Commisario Brunetti book with trepidation. The next two, Suffer The Little Children and The Girl of His Dreams, were pleasant surprises; while not the strongest (it s hard to live up to Aqua Alta), they were very good and promised a return to Leon s old form.[return][return]Unfortunately, this latest in the series is mediocre at best. It s mostly filler; at least half of the book is irrelevant to the story. Instead, w ...more
Bill Lancaster
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-books
Donna Leon's eighteenth book, About Face, is ostensibly a mystery about the accumulation (and storage and transport) of trash in Venice, Italy. It also concerns the fate of a woman with excessive facial plastic surgery. Leon's recurring character, Commissario Guido Brunetti, is tasked with finding the killer of a fellow police officer, who was investigating the illegal transport of environmental waste.
This is the first Brunetti mystery I've read and I recognize the protagonist as a very likable
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For fans of Guido Brunetti, this book features a fair amount of family drama, beginning with Brunetti being seated at dinner near an old friend of the Contessa's (his mother-in-law). The lady is married to a high-powered merchant acquaintance of the Conte. She is also delightfully well read, and Brunetti enjoys a deep discussion around his favorite topic, books. So much so, His wife, Paola, chastises him for paying her too much attention!
But the policeman soon has other worries. A Carabinieri o
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: guido-s-picks
Another excellent book by Donna Leon. Another one with an ending that doesn't tie it neatly in a bow for us, but leaves it ambiguous - just like real life. Guido Brunetti continues to be a character who is a mensch in the finest sense of the word. He struggles to walk the fine line between idealism and being a realist. Above all, he remains a decent human being who is an excellent just of humankind.

In this book, the author reveals the international issue of garbage and where it goes - legally o
Joseph Young
An interesting story, but not that compelling. It's kind of interesting that at the end, the main character chooses corruption with honour(?) over blind justice.

Perhaps the problem is that the main compelling point seems to be that a woman's face looks horribly disfigured by cosmetic surgery, and everyone wonders why. Who cares? How does it actually affect the world? It's some gossipy rag that doesn't affect anyone one way or another. It takes about 1/3 of the book before something actually int
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect face...which does not move with her emotions...and a mind far beyond most of her acquaintances, except for Donatella and Brunetti.
The story behind the face involves a perfect string of crimes, as well as an ancient Roman capacity for self-sacrifice in the cause of honour, in the manner of Ovid's "Fasti."
Would have been 4.5 stars, but for a lengthy excursion into a storage container which was difficult to visualize and could have been shorter, IMHO.
Mary Ellen
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
The murder of a member of the Caribinieri is the central mystery to be solved, but the solving of it takes a chapter or two of basic police work. Many more pages are spent on the mystery of plastic surgery gone wrong on the face of a young woman who has an antiquated taste in reading and a somewhat incomprehensible allure for Brunetti.

I kept waiting for this book to become as engaging and enjoyable as all the other Brunetti books I've read. And then it was over, and it never had.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Commissario (Dottore) Guido Brunetti of the police in Venice, this time going after a cop-killer and illegal dumping of hazardous waste, and he still finds time for his Caffe Coretto, wine and grappa, amazing man. I am so sad, because there are not that many Guido Brunetti mysteries left to read...might have to start over with the first one.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Well worth reading, like all Donna Leon, but this particular title, for me, lacks the wonderful domestic details that are so endearing about the Brunetti books; Signorina Elettra is not on full form and, again for me, the plot is not quite as good as usual. However, very glad I read it, and Donna Leon, even when not at her very best, is head and shoulders above many!!!
Another enjoyable outing with Commissario Brunetti and company. Leon's books are like a vacation in Venice but with a dash of crime and social commentary. The descriptions of the canals, the food, the sights and sounds are terrific and the bad guys usually get caught.
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This wasn't my favorite of the Commissario Brunetti mysteries. There was little action and the end left too much unresolved. And normally I am fine with an "all talking" book! But somehow this one needed something more to it.
Rachelle Urist
Jun 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
This mystery writer is renowned for capturing the color and geography of Venice, Italy. If that’s all you need in a book, read this. I don’t care about local color – unless it supports and helps drive the plot. For a mystery writer, she generates little suspense. A real bore.
Gisela Hafezparast
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Definately one of the better ones of the series although the end is a bit untidy. Read it to get away from things for a bit and it is perfect for that.
Linda Howe
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I seem to have been reading a lot of not-so great fiction recently, so it was a pleasure to "come home" to Donna Leon, to find in the library one of her books I had not read. I loved this one, and as I turned pages began wondering if I could articulate what it was about Leon's books that I liked so much. The double entendre of its title? Maybe. I picked up from the get go the two meanings, though it wasn't until near the end that how that would work became clear to me. And there's the quality of ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Brunetti and his well-born, well-read wife spend an evening at her parents’. Her father, il conti, is curious as to his opinion of a gentleman with whom he is considering a business liaison. Brunetti himself is curious about that gentleman’s much younger wife. With her penchant for classical literature and her face bizarrely misshapen by plastic surgery, who could be but fascinated.

Nel frattempo torna al maneggio, the carabiniere come calling on the polizia wanting the inside track, that is som
Robert B
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
My first procedural featuring the Venetian detective, Commissario Guido Brunetti, struck me as a bit muddled, alternating between an investigation of illegal garbage hauling and the story of the young wife of a friend of Brunetti's father-in-law, who kills the man with whom she has apparently been having an affair. Brunetti is an interesting, clever character, but the city of Venice gets little attention here.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I listened to About Face via Overdrive. About Face was the first book I read by Donna Leon. It is the 18th book in Leon's Commissario Brunetti series. I really enjoyed About Face, Commissario Brunetti and other recurring characters, the ecological/climate change plot angle, and Leon's writing style.
Cynthia  Scott
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
A beautiful woman with an extreme face lift is the mystery behind a series of murders. Catastrophic dumping of toxic industrial waste is the underlying take away lesson in this Venetian book. Another delightful book from Donna Leon.
Jim Bartlett
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
in this 18th Brunetti Venetian novel , Commissario Guido Brunetti savours another murder mystery and consumes it with the same relishment and deliberation he gives to the exquisite Italian lunches he shares with his wife and family
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donna leon 1 5 Jan 21, 2017 06:12AM  
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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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“Most people — however much they might deny it — had an idea of what they were getting into when they got into it.” 2 likes
“Perception of personal danger very often set people on the path of virtue.” 2 likes
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