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Dressed for Death

(Commissario Brunetti #3)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  10,272 ratings  ·  654 reviews
Commissario Guido Brunetti's hopes for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera - a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. He then receives a telephone call from a contact who promis ...more
Paperback, 343 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Penguin Group (first published 1994)
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Raine Baushke I've read a couple of Martin Walker's books, also. I chose them as I liked Donna Leon's books. I used Donna Leon as inspiration for my art mysteries s…moreI've read a couple of Martin Walker's books, also. I chose them as I liked Donna Leon's books. I used Donna Leon as inspiration for my art mysteries set in Paris.(less)

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Alex is The Romance Fox
Dressed to Kill, the 3rd book in Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti Series starts with a body found behind a slaughterhouse in Marghera. Despite the case falling under the Mestre police department, Brunetti is sent to investigate due to a shortage of detectives in that station. Brunetti is not pleased with the situation as he was due to start his leave and take his family to a vacation in the mountains.

At first, the body is thought to be of a male transvestite prostitute but when it’s identified
Blaine DeSantis
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donna Leon, I am sorry! I apologize for not reading any of your books until this year (2020). I LOVE THIS SERIES!!! Set in Venice, I love the plots and characters. Just another super job with Commissario Brunetti. This time he is on the trail of a murderer who has killed a man who is found in the field outside a slaughterhouse. What makes this different is that the man is wearing red womens shoes and a red dress. Was he a cross-dressing whore? Was he a closet gay man? What is the story behind th ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
First a disclaimer, that I'm returning to the earlier Brunetti novels and reading the ones I missed. So this was read after 21 others, although it is only #3 in the series. And I also have to admit that my very favorites are all within the last 10 books when there has been much deeper and "crux /core" peeled down character development.

But this one was GOOD. It was harsher, more sordid and had tougher language and sensibilities in its tone and within Guido's reaction than 90% of all the other 20
Fred Shaw
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donna Leon has created a lovable character in Comissario Guido Brunetti and a highly entertaining series of novels built around the city of Venice as backdrop. This is my second and I intend to read more. Highly recommended!
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Not my favorite Donna Leon-- a bit more grizzly and sordid than some-- but really worth the read for the start of Chapter Twenty-Three, in which our hero, Commissario of Police Guido Brunetti, having a rare night home alone without his wife and children, cooks his supper and reads Tacitus' Annals of Imperial Rome... "The heat usually robbed Brunetti of all appetite, but that night he found himself really hungry... He stopped at Rialto on the way home, surprised to find some of the fruit and vege ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
This is the third Donna Leon book that I have read. I truly enjoy the Venetian ambience while reading her books. Most of all, I really do like the protagonist, Guido Brunetti. Not only does he love his wife and children, but he’s also hard-working and upright. What a refreshing change! This is from the TV series.

He often goes home for lunch and of course for dinner, and let me just say that the food descriptions are superb. There’s even a Brunetti cookbook that I’m seriously considering.
The st
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anybody who loves a great mystery series
I'd read other Donna Leon books prior to picking up the first of the series. If it had been the first I'd read, it would definitely got me into reading the remainder. It provided an excellent introduction to Commissario Brunetti and the other main characters who make up the cast in the series; his lovely wife, Paola and his two children, son Reggio and precocious daughter Chiara, his team of assistants, Sgt Vianello and secretary Signora Elletro (who I've always had a crush on) and of course, hi ...more
Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those sick of quaint mysteries
Shelves: italy, borrowed
What follows is less a review than a series of anecdotes and digressions (rather like Tristram Shandy).
I found myself in a quandry; I was getting ready to leave work, and I had misplaced my copy of The Worst Intentions (according to Freud, there are no accidents), which left me without a book to read on my weekend. I picked up a knackered pocketbook copy of Dressed For Death, which, if you have ever tried to sell books at Green Apple, tells you all you need to know about Donna Leon: we simply
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Thoroughly bland, but then we don't read mysteries hoping they're actually Joyce or Pynchon, do we? Here, Brunetti investigates the corpse of a transvestite prostitute found outside an abattoir in Mestre....or is it? (A transvestite prostitute, that is. It is an abattoir, it is Mestre.) As always, Venetian corruption dogs his efforts as he ingests insalata caprese, penne rigate in simple sauces, and kilos of peaches, with plenty of acqua minerale to combat the swampy sweaty miasmas of summertime ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Bored. Slogged through it on the strength of the reviews and the hope of a series I might enjoy.

I listened to the audio and never adapted to the narrator. I never figured out how much of the problem was him and how much was the book. Often I can get past a so-so narrator once the story takes over in my mind. This story never hooked.

I understand the plot and tone of this book are different from others in the series. Maybe it’s he wrong place to start.

I’m reading the first of the series on kind
Ann McReynolds
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of all the superbly crafted mysteries by Donna Leon, this was the only one which began in an exceptionally offensive way. Granted that her touch is always decisive, I continued to another well plotted and believable finish.

The blood and guts authors, such as Lee
Child, also have highly convoluted plots, but each of Donna Leon’s seem to evolve as natural outgrowths of the human nature of her characters.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
The August heat has driven many residents out of Venice and nearby mainland cities for vacations in cooler climes, so just as Commissario Guido Brunetti is about to take his family to the mountains, he is asked by the police in Mestre to take charge of a murder case; their own detectives are mostly away on leave. So Brunetti stays behind as his family go to the mountains.
The case is sordid--a man dressed in women's clothing was found beaten to death in a field near a slaughterhouse, an area know
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
What appears at first glance to be a murdered woman is found behind a slaughterhouse. Upon closer examination, however, the body in the red dress turns out to be that of a man, and the first officers on the scene immediately jump to the conclusion that he must be a transvestite prostitute. Commissario Brunetti, handed the case because none of the detectives actually assigned to the relevant precinct are available, takes that assumption with a grain of salt, and the further he looks into the case ...more
Theresa Leone Davidson
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another very good installment in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series of mysteries, all set in Venice, where the author has lived for more than thirty years, important because it means she knows the city and the descriptions she writes are always a favorite part of her novels. This mystery involves a man dressed as a woman who is discovered murdered outside a slaughterhouse not far from Venice. Was he a transvestite? Was he a transvestite prostitute? In any event, why was he murdered? All quest ...more
Deb Jones
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
There is an elegance to Commissario Guido Brunetti that surpasses his station in life and his profession as a police officer in Venice. There is an elegance to the setting, one the author immerses her readers in even through the crimes and their investigations.

Not that all the scenes take place only in the more beautiful parts of that city -- in fact, most of them don't. But the characters and the writer take us beyond the squalid. It seems effortless on the part of the author.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I am really enjoying this series even though it did take me awhile to get back to it for this third book. The subject matter was more disturbing but I really like the characters, Brunetti and his family. The setting of Venice is very enjoyable and seems like another character. I do plan to continue and hope to read these in order though probably at a slow pace because once I start one I have a hard time putting it down.
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really like this series and just wish that when I was in Venice last year that I would have met up with Guido Brunetti and he could have helped me navigate the canals and bridges of Venice.
A dead body is found in a field near a slaughterhouse in Marghera, near Venice. At first glance, it appears to be one of the prostitutes who work the area around the abbatoir. But on examination, it turns out to be a man dressed in a woman's red dress and underwear and red silk shoes. The victim has been beaten about the head and face so badly that he is rendered unrecognizable.

When his gender is discovered, the assumption becomes that he is a transvestite prostitute and the investigation of the
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Justice prevails! For a little while there it seemed as if Brunetti was going to be foiled again by the systemic corruption of Italian politics and the moneyed elite. Leon's writing is engrossing and evenly-paced as she follows Commissario Guido Brunetti on the trail of a killer (or killers). I especially enjoy reading about Brunetti's domestic life, particularly his no-nonsense and book-loving wife, Paola. This is the third in a strong and long-running series and one that I will continue to rea ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this less upon re-reading. It took rather too long to get moving.
The setup of the Lega della Moralità foreshadows Acqua Alta in its depiction of the use of a pious front to cover corruption and murder.
"In recent years, the country had been shaken by arrests and convictions for bribery at all levels, from industrialists and builders to cabinet ministers. Billions, tens of billions, hundreds of billions of lire had been paid out in bribes, and so Italians had come to believe that corru
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Narrator: David Colacci

I rather enjoyed this even though at times I got weary of the Italian accent and wanted a break but the story was compelling enough to keep me listening. I guess I will get used to it eventually as I find Brunetti such a likeable man. It's such a refreshing change to have a homicide cop with a healthy, happy family life and I hope that doesn't change, even if some people think it unrealistic. I found this happy aspect so welcome especia
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes even the bad guys do fall

Commissario Brunetti gets assigned a case that is in neighboring Mestre, across the causeway from Venice. It starts out as a murder of a transvestite, beaten nearly beyond recognition. But was is initially unrecognizable is the accumulating set of small details that start to form a clearer picture of the case, and reverse the direction if the investigation.

This is a story about power, financial greed and the insightful persistence of a first class writer unvei
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book I've read in the series by Donna Leon, and she continues to capture my attention in yet another intricate murder mystery. The plotting is excellent, the mood is disturbing (a hot setting in Venice adds weight to it), and the characters are strong and credible. The only problem I had was the ability to retain the names of the characters (some of them were similar) and their connection to one another—a complex list that seemed to expand with every new scene. I should have ta ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Donna Leon is a splendid writer. Her intelligent perspective makes each of her mysteries a delight. The Venetian setting is amazingly real. I marvel at Commissario Brunetti's ability to retain his humanity and decency despite the corruption he encounters at so many levels of society. These books are my summer treats. ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am really enjoying the Brunetti series. Though they are technically crime novels, Commissario Brunetti is quite fun to follow around his home city of Venice. Leon also describes in detail what Guido and his wife Paola are eating for nearly every meal. If you like food, Italy, or just a good read, this might be the series for you.
A well done mystery with an appealing lead character, interesting Venice setting, and a compelling plot.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I am binging on this series! Book 3 has Brunetti assigned to a case in the city of Mestre when their own Commissarios are all on vacation or leave. The body of a man dressed in a red dress has been found beaten beyond recognition. Despite the fact that Brunetti is scheduled to go on his own vacation, his superior Patta insists he take on the assignment.

This time Leon takes us through the seedy underworld of transvestite prostitutes. The story also focuses on a local non-profit charity that provi
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very solid, I enjoyed it more than the second installment, partially because the story was better built, partially because there was some comeuppance, some justice the police was able to serve in the end, unlike in the previous book.

If I should compare these books to my two old time favorite detective writers, Christie and Simenon, Leon’s books seem to me closer to Simenon’s setting. She presents slices of Venetian society, both the flashy and the seedy sides. There is a whiff of sadness in som
Feb 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Book three in the series was much like book two in that it lacked either the hook to pull you in or the twist at the end that gets you excited. I’ll refer back to the twist in the first book that had me seeking more stories of Commoissario Brunetti. Books two and three aren’t as compelling reads.

But this one not only lacked a hook or twist it was also split between Venice and Mestre. While Mestre is just outside Venice and a quick train ride it was the Venice locale that drew me into the first b
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donna Leon has developed a likable character in Comissario Guido Brunetti who is on the side of right and calmly and coolly pursues the bad guy. What I loved about this book and why I will read another in the series is Venice. I read this book while I was in Venice and it was fun!
I thought the mystery at the core of the book was tame and plodding but I plan on trying another.
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Play Book Tag: Dressed for Death by Donna Leon - 4 stars 1 9 Oct 25, 2017 07:03PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Commissario Brunetti (1 - 10 of 30 books)
  • Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti, #1)
  • Death in a Strange Country (Commissario Brunetti, #2)
  • 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)
  • Wilful Behaviour (Commissario Brunetti, #11)

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