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Friends in High Places (Commissario Brunetti, #9)
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Friends in High Places (Commissario Brunetti #9)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,167 Ratings  ·  284 Reviews
When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat investigating the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years earlier, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant government department. But when the bureaucrat rings Brunetti at work, clearly scared, and is ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published March 2001 by Arrow Books (first published 2000)
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Alex is The Romance Fox
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Friends in High Places, the 9th novel in the Commissario Brunetti Series starts with Brunetti enjoying a relaxing day at his home, which is interrupted by the news of an official from Officio Castato, the registrar of buildings in Venice, that his apartment on the top floor of one of the oldest buildings in San Polo, Venice may have not received planning permission and it may result in it having to be pulled down if the papers are not found.
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Before Brunetti can solve this problem, the person who
Nov 17, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read Friends in High Places by Donna Leon as an “airplane book” when I’d finished something more interesting and was curious to read a novel that might capture the ambiance of Venice. To call this a “light read” would be an understatement, it being less than even mildly entertaining. The writing itself is simple to the point of being boring, and the plot lacks intrinsic interest even as Leon introduces subplots that go nowhere and end up having little if anything to do with the primary mystery ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is the ninth adventure of Venice Police Commissioner Guido Brunetti. Guido is one small man with a badge who is continually pitted against the big wheel of Italian corruption - which he inadvertently stumbles into book after book while doing his job - which is usually solving murder cases. These books are pseudo-police procedurals/mysteries. I use the term “pseudo” because the culprits are either known from the very beginning or tossed in at the very end. The series is also very formulaic – ...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it liked it
In this one Guido is up against a situation involving the Office Castato, which is the registrar for Venice property. Of course his own apartment is involved and might have to be "pulled down".

As formulaic as all these Brunetti are, I so enjoy the conversations and the minutia of his life, family, and work in Venice. His daughter is 15 in this one and Paola is not on a reading binge and so is preparing some excellent meals. Sausage and peppers, Spring peas with risotto just a few in this one. An
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'm surprised to see some of the negative ratings here. Perhaps it's because you need to get to know the characters and appreciate the interplay between Guido, his wife, Paula, and his children. Or, it could be that some folks just prefer action-packed shoot-em-ups rather (I can appreciate those too) than character and place studies. I suspect if you like DeKok and Maigret these will really appeal to you.

That being said, I really enjoyed Anna Fields reading this 9th in the series. Again, Italian
I love Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti series! All the things that contribute to a good mystery - a rich recurring cast of characters with lots of ongoing dynamics, murders where the whodunit isn't easily guessable and plot twists and turns to keep things moving along. The bonus in these stories is Venice, as much of a character as the humans who populate Leon's novels. I love the leisurely pace of these stories, reflecting the relaxed culture of Venice.

I enjoyed this story of corruption in th
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brunetti, mystery
Friends in High Places[return]Donna Leon[return][return]9th in the Commisario Brunetti series, set in Venice, Italy.[return][return]Brunetti receives a visitor from the Officio Castato, the Registration Office, that controls permits and titles to all property in Venice. The visitor, Franco Rossi, tells a totally panicked Brunetti that because there is no record of the renovations that constitute his apartment to the building, the best he can hope for is a huge fine but the possibility exists tha ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In this Inspector Brunetti, first published in 2000, police Comissario Brunetti takes on an investigation after getting a visit from a young employee of the government agency that oversees building permits. He is following up on a letter that Brunetti had received that was so full of government gibberish that he gave up on it. Now the young man is telling him that there's a problem with the apartment he and his wife bought 12 years before. Apparently it was built atop a 15th century building sho ...more
Jul 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book in a charity shop as part of an offer - 5 paperbacks for £1 so I suppose I only paid 20p for it but, seemingly like many of the Venetians in the story, I was robbed.
I kept waiting for the plot to thicken but it never did and the only way it could be described as a page turner is because the print is so big.
I found the constant references to corruption, apathy and incompetence amongst the officialdom of Italy rather depressing and if this is truly the state of affairs I am
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I enjoy spending time with Brunetti and his wife but this installment was made full by a rather pedestrian plot. Corruption in Italy? With regards to building permits? Double yawn.
Gerald Sinstadt
Jan 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Much crime fiction is transportable. Change the names of the streets, adjust the thermometer, translate the ciao's and the auf widersehen's and the seeya's and the actual mechanics of the plot will often work as well in Rome as they do in Boston or Berlin. But not with Donna Leon's novels. Venice is more than a backdrop; the culture of the city is integral to the fabric of the story. For sure there are other corrupt communities in the world but perhaps none quite like the claustrophobic backscra ...more
Toni Osborne
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Also under the title "The Dark Side of Venice"

(The ninth book in the Guido Brunetti series)

One day, Commissario Brunetti is visited by Franco Rossi, a young bureaucrat concerned about the lack of official approval to build his apartment years before. There are no existing plans for this addition in the registry's office; in fact, on record, the flat was never built. The Brunetti family fears a blackmail scenario, resulting in demolition or an enormous fine even though the original construction w
Nov 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 9th book in the series, and proves to be just as entertaining as the previous eight.

"When Commissario Guido Brunetti is visited by a young bureaucrat concerned to investigate the lack of official approval for the building of his apartment years before, his first reaction, like any other Venetian, even a cop, is to think of whom he knows who might bring pressure to bear on the relevant local government department. But when the bureaucrat rings him at work, clearly scared by some infor
May 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
I read this for a book club; it’s the 9th in a series of crime novels based on detective Brunetti, and set in Venice. As a fan of crime thrillers I looked forward to reading a Venetian one, but alas I was disappointed. I found the characters undeveloped and the plot rather weak and meandering, with dead ends and unresolved crimes . It didn’t really evoke much of a sense of Venice for me either, apart from the underlying corruption of the local government and links with various criminals. Brunett ...more
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This installment included two different stories regarding corruption in the finance/loan sharking in Venice and drugs sold to young adults. It's two different and unrelated stories and this would have been much, much better if it'd focused on one story or the other. Patta's son is arrested for drug dealing and a young man dies of an overdose and another group of kids are killed/injured in a car accident - I suppose there was a connection but it was never really clarified. A building inspector di ...more
Sara Van Dyck
Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fict-lmnop

The plot is lightweight, but what I like about this book is probably true of other Commissario Brunetti mysteries, the atmosphere and setting: Venice, campos, and sliding down the canals. Then there’s the acknowledgment of how pervasive corruption is, with moneylenders, bribes, a city decaying from negligence. I wonder how the Venetians feel about Leon’s portrayal of their body politic?

I also enjoy the complicated psychological and ethical considerations, especially facing the reality that witho
Jan 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: serial-mystery, 6-09
In Donna Leon's Friends in High Places, the 9th book in the Commissario Brunnetti Italian mystery series, we were introduced to another suspenseful mystery in beautiful Italy. It all started when a young bureaucrat visited Guido to investigate the lack of official approval for his apartment building, his first impression was on who he knows to bring pressure on that government department. But when he rung him at work and sounded scared, he was late found dead when he had fallen from some scaffol ...more
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Shelves: mystery, italy, 2010
I've read a few books in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series and so far I like them, although tend to be a bit too graphic and violent. So I don't read them too often, but I find myself coming back for the descriptions of life in Venice and to learn more about the main characters. This story was interesting and a fairly quick read. Perfect for a cold day in a warm living room.

new words: scurrility, post-lapsarian, aorist, atavistic
Gabi Coatsworth
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
A little slow to begin with, but stick with it. Commissario Guido Brunetti's character, honesty and frustration with corruption in Venice is really well shown. And there's an unexpected but satisfying ending, too.
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Typical Leon. A good read set in one of my favourite cities, Venice.
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting. .
Michael Johnston
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Another brilliant Commissario Brunetti mystery. What brings me back again and again is not just the mystery or the great character that is Brunetti, but the brilliant depiction of the seedy underbelly of human behavior. Leon's remarkable ability to find dark, unusual motivations for crime fascinates me. My world view is significantly more optimistic than the world painted by the Donna Leon, but I suspect she is at heart a closet optimist. In the corrupt, seedy world surrounding our hero, Brunett ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
In Friends in High Places by Donna Leon, we go to the city of Venice with Commissario Guido Brunetti. One Saturday morning Guido gets a visit from Franco Rossi, an official who is investigating Brunetti’s apartment, which the man indicates might have to be torn down because there is no record of the existence of any approved plans for this top floor apartment. That seems to be the end of any contact with Rossi when the young man calls Brunetti at his work because he has found corruption in his g ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Friends in High Places is the 9th novel in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series and it did not disappoint. As in the other books in the series, Brunetti ponders one or more categories of social injustice; this time he is preoccupied by corruption of public officials and troubled also by usurious money-lenders, a husband & wife who have become wealthy as lenders of last resort charging 50% interest per month. Against Brunetti's consideration of these ills, of course there are several crimes ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
This was the fastest read of the series so far, and it may have been the shortest (or it seemed like it, at least). Most of the books in this series have been pretty bleak, but this one takes the cake. Bureaucracy, drug abuse, high-level connections, and various criminals going unpunished and thriving. But potentially worst of all, Brunetti is showing cracks. His relationship with his wife, which came into play in the previous book, seems more strained. He still has weird interplay with his boss ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a fan of hers. Her plots generally turn on some obvious ineptitude of the Italian government that lets the bad guys do all kinds of things they aren't supposed to and that sometimes lead to people being killed. Along with all the things the Italian government does wrong, she usually throws in more references to good food than she did in this one. She also didn't spend quite as much time as usual talking about how Venetians find ways to survive the tourists, but it still gave me a taste of Ve ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great series

Another addition to the great Commissario Brunetti series. Ms Leon's work is always based in our current political climate and includes the daily struggles between right and wrong, the hardest and easiest choices we must make, and the weakest and most powerful among us. I love all her characters and her strong writing style. Each book stands alone and the series does not suffer if read out of sequence. Enjoy the tours of Venice as her stories unfold. Great series!
Ed Mestre
Another Commisario Brunetti Venetian mystery, equally enjoyable as my first. Having gone to Venice in 2014 adds to the enjoyment of the setting. Add to that enjoyable characters & clever mysteries & a very pleasant read is to be had. I thought I might be missing something having not started at the beginning of the long running series, but so far, each story seems to stand up pretty well on its own. I’ll definitely turn to the series again.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Commissario Brunetti of the Venice police has some perplexing issues in front of him. His apartment appears to not exist on any plans in the building department; an inspector who has contacted him and appears to be afraid is found dead. And the plot thickens from there. Brunetti finds out he is delving into things that some folks do not want exposed... and in the end a person of substance is not what she appears to be. Another great story of police work in slightly dysfunctional Italy.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it

Such a difficult place to live, Venice. So many layers of petty authority, & so many backhanders. I do like Brunetti, he's such a human character, & I could feel his frustrations, particularly over Patta's son's drug involvement. I like his solution to the zitella noblie Dolfin - scandal would be horrifying to her.
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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 26 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)
  • A Sea of Troubles (Commissario Brunetti, #10)
  • Wilful Behaviour (Commissario Brunetti, #11)

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“Well, I don’t believe it any more, none of it: I have no faith and I have no hope.’ Though” 0 likes
“Brunetti’s best friend had often said that he wanted death to take him just at the moment he laid his last lira down on a bar and said, ‘Prosecco for everyone.” 0 likes
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