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Acqua Alta (Commissario Brunetti, #5)
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Acqua Alta (Commissario Brunetti #5)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,828 Ratings  ·  463 Reviews
Donna Leon's growing American fan base is hungry for more of the books from her internationally bestselling series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. Now in what many consider one of the finest in the series, Venice braces for the onslaught of "acqua alta"-the rising waters from torrential rain. But Brunetti has his own problems, beginning with the savage beating of an ...more
Paperback, 387 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1996)
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C. Murray I read my first Donna Leon mystery, Death at La Fenice, while in Venice for a long weekend, and the Brunetti series has kept the beauty and allure of…moreI read my first Donna Leon mystery, Death at La Fenice, while in Venice for a long weekend, and the Brunetti series has kept the beauty and allure of the city with me for years afterwards.(less)
Barbara They do not have to be read in order. The chief characters become familiar. Each book stands on its own.

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Alex is The Romance Fox
Alta Acqua, the 5th book in the Commisario Brunetti series by Donna Leone. The title of the book refers to the time in winter, where water from the Adriatic Sea overflows into Venice causing homes and places in the city.
 photo venice21_zpsm5csjgy9.jpg
Guido Brunetti, the highly skilled, tenacious and very likeable Venetian police detective and family man finds himself investigating a murder and art fraud after his friend, Brett Lynch, an American archeologist and companion of the famous opera singer Flavia Petrelli, who were i
Ah, Donna Leon! I will never quit you. I said after the last Brunetti mystery I read that I was going to take a break, which is a ridiculous statement that someone should have tried to refute. I liked this much more than the last installment, so I am officially back on the Leon train (or gondola, I suppose).

Here are some great things featured in this book:

- Brunetti learning what Occam's Razor is, and promptly discarding that silly notion since it would never apply to an Italian crime
- Brett Lyn
Brenda Funk
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love Commissario Guido Brunetti of Donna Leon's mysteries almost as much as Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache! He has just the right amount of complexity and humanity, struggles constantly with what is 'right' and why people are like they are, do what they do.
The writing is beautiful, as it should be when an English professor is doing it. And I love the setting of Venice, and the many operatic references running through. The author has lived in Venice for 25+ years, and after she retired
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really like Donna Leon. I hope she continues to write forever. Her books are always literate and interesting with marvelous characters. The plots are intricate even if her view of Italian society is dark indeed. For example, in Acqua Alta, a woman is seriously beaten by some thugs. Her partner calls for an ambulance, but she is told there are two people ahead of her and she must be placed on a waiting list. Sorry. Once in the hospital every palm must be greased just to get the sheets changed. ...more
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore the Commissario Guido Brunetti books. They are always so multi layered and the plot commences so simply and then suddenly it becomes a tapestry of interwoven threads. These threads cone to a conclusion but not always in the way you would expect. After all it is set in Italy, the land of mafia, kickbacks and corruption. All levels of Italian society is dealt with in the books, you see Venice as it is and how the venetian's view it. In Venice as in Italy, there is much to love and much to ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this fifth installment of the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series, author Donna Leon aptly uses the title to foreshadow the vital role the waters of Venice play in the story. From the heavy rains to the overflowing canal, the setting proves as much an impediment to Brunetti’s investigation as the criminals who use the dark depths of injustice to conceal their true nature.

Brief glimpses into Brunetti’s family life and interactions with his office staff, including a boss swayed by politic
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fa
As usual, an entertaining read, good enough for a few hours of relaxation.

I do enjoy Brunetti's family life, and I think it adds to the cozy atmosphere of this series, but maybe someone who expects a hard mystery thriller will find it annoying and unnecessary.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Five stars to the third reading as well. I noticed many more telling details this time. Many of the scenes are unforgettable.
And then there are descriptions like the following which have a contemporary ring:
"Along with the violence, along with the hired killers who shot twelve-year-olds as messages to their parents, had come the men with the briefcases, the soft-spoken patrons of the opera and the arts, with their university-educated children, their wine cellars and their fierce desire to be per
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This is good, and it starts quickly. As opposed to others in the Brunetti series, this beginning is abrupt as a punch. And the first quarter held that action and context interest with art, opera, the high tides of early spring in "Venice with our boots on" detail.

And then there was the middle half. It's filled with inquiry and traipsing details for getting to 50 places and back again, without going into any of the low spots. We also hear about the color of all those boots and their height, or d
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
And after a long break, we're back to Commissario Brunetti and Venice - for a city that's supposedly so crime-free, I'm impressed at how many detective stories Donna Leon's managed to write that take place there.

Before, in Death at La Fenice, the themes of the day were opera and poisoning; now it's counterfeit antiques and the Mafia. (opera is still heavily featured in this book, but turning to the author bio I see that Donna Leon is an opera expert) Brett Lynch and Flavia Petrelli are back (so
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Almost the last Brunetti book from my reading list. Donna Leon outdoes herself in this one: Brunetti reconnects with Flavia Petrelli, famed opera diva when Flavia's partner Brett is brutally beaten. Brett, who is an art historian, had mounted a show of ancient Chinese pottery which has now proven to contain fake pieces. The pursuit of the perpetrators takes Brunetti into the world of rabid collectors and again the specter of the Mafia working its way north. Brunetti best explains the Italian app ...more
John Dodds
I enjoyed this less than other books in Donna Leon's Brunetti series.

It would benefit from editing as there are several sections that add nothing to the plot or to the development of the characters. The bad guys are cardboard cutouts. And there are several extremely violent passages. (I've got nothing against descriptions of violence in principle but some of this felt simply gratuitous.)

As usual the descriptions of Venice are evocative.

Read Death at La Fenice before you read Acqua Alta as the ba
Christine Morrison
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have read a few of Donna Leon's books but I have to admit to being very disappointed with this one. There seemed to be no suspense at all, you knew from very early on who had done the murder. It mainly seemed to be about how people cope with flooding in Venice. I also thought it was derogatory towards people from South Italy. If I had read this as the first of her novels, I wouldn't have bothered with others.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frances Sawaya
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometime in the '80s when "Valley Girl Talk" was very prevalent, KPCC aired a report on regional language, and the correspondent repeated a conversation overheard in the Cinerama Dome carpark. "Oh, Tiffany. It's like we are so totally not parked here." Leon includes a similar anecdote in a Venetian gelato shop - and the butt of the joke was the American tourist, loud and oblivious of impact. She also (like Camilleri and Ferrante) places importance on dialect and regionalism. From that aspect alo ...more
ACQUA ALTA (Pol. Proc.-Comm. Guido Brunette-Venice, Italy, Cont) - Ex
Leon, Donna – 5th in series
Penquin, 1996, US Paperback – ISBN:0142004960

First Sentence: Domestic tranquility prevailed.

Commissario Guido Brunetti sees the report of an assault on a woman he’d met during a previous case. Art historian Dotoressa Brett Lynch, staying with her lover, opera diva Flavia Petrelli, is in Venice to meet museum curator, Dottor Semenzati regarding ancient Chinese pots that had been on display in his museu
Carol Mello
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-read, keepers
This story is actually related to the very first Donna Leon mystery featuring Brunetti. The lesbian lovers are back and involved in another mystery. By the end of the book you know they will never return. I actually liked this one better than the first book. Very dramatic climax. Tons of rain in this book, described in enough detail to convince me never to visit Venice during the rainy season. If I remember this correctly, this is a case where Brunetti knows who is guilty but has a hard time get ...more
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Did I miss something in previous books by Leon? Brunetti was described in this one as 'tall and heavily built.' I knew he was tall but 'heavily built?' I hadn't pictured that and I read this book with the feeling that someone was pretending to be Brunetti. Not that he still wasn't the wonderful caring father, the proud husband, the good boss and cohort, but I just never bought the 'heavily built.' "Big' maybe.

And this story took place in February, winter in Venice, the season of unremitting rain
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fourth Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery...just as good as the last. I love these mysteries...and i love that they take place in Venice. Commissario Brunetti is becoming a more complex character in very book. There's great satisfaction in following the same main characters from on mystery to the next.

"When Brunetti's old friend, Brett Lynch, an American expatriate-and distinguished art historian-is horribly beaten by thugs in the apartment she shares with her lover, the commanding and stro
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A really lovely mystery and a chance to spend a little time in Venice, enjoying the city during the acqua alta without having to get my feet (or anything else) wet. Dottor Brunetti is such a lovely man to spend time with and I enjoyed the time spent with Flavia and Brett as well. Elettra and Vianello are wonderful at their jobs and the world of art and opera and food just flows so well through the storyline. The mystery and detecting are well done, and the pacing just sucks you into without stre ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
An intriguing and suspenseful entry set during the high water season in Venice. The details of the rain, wind, and difficulty of getting around during that time of year are fascinating. A museum director is murdered and connections are discovered between him and stolen and forged ancient art. Brett Lynch, an American archaeologist with a speciality in ancient Chinese art, is threatened for her knowledge of the art, and her lover, the diva Flavia Petrelli, is beside herself after Brett is severel ...more
Stephen Bush
Apr 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
If this was the first Donna Leon I read I would not have wasted my time reading another one. But fortunately it wasn't. I have enjoyed many of the e books in this series. I am also surprised it is marked as being number 5, as it seems more like number 2 to me, but I have not read them in order so that is a gut thing not based on science.

After struggling to get more than a third through this I finally tossed it - donated it to the local library - about three quarters through. And cheered that it
Riku Sarlin
Ensimmäinen Donna Leon -kirjani. Innostuin lukemaan näitä koska olimme lähdössä perheen kanssa lomareissulle Venetsiaan. Kirjailijan Venetsia-sarjassa päähahmo on Venetsialainen komisario Brunetti, ja pyöritään Venetsian ja laajemmin Veneton alueella. Kerronta toimii mutta ei sykähdytä. Henkilöt on kuvattu dekkariksi poikkeuksellisen hyvin. Jotain - ei osaa sanoa mitä - jää kuitenkin puuttumaan. Hassu sattuma - tässä kirjassa on iso rooli tulvivalla Venetsialla - acqua alta - jollaisen sitten my ...more
Susan Hirtz
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't remember when I read this; it was probably several years ago, but it left me with an indelible impression of what it must be like to live in Venice during an "acqua alta". I had seen photos, but when faced with the damage that water can do to stone and particularly to the beautiful architecture of "La Serenissima" on a visit some time ago, one wishes the world would take more interest in protecting the irresistible and timeless wonder of this incredible place.
Pamela Mclaren
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Donna Leon has created quite an enduring character in Commissario Guido Brunetti. Funny, caring and pretty darn smart, he knows the culture and the reality of the world in which he operates.

And in Acqua Alta, he once again strives again to solve a terrible beating and a death as flood waters rise in the city of Venice. A smart, intelligent multifaceted story that keeps the reader riveted to its pages.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I found this mystery to be way too self-consciously written to be enjoyable. I've been able to get into some of Donna Leon's other Brunetti books, but in this one I could never shake the knowledge that this was a non-Italian trying very hard to write as if she were one. This kept me from ever being able buy into the mystery or the characters, and made me wish I were reading Magdalene Nabb instead of Leon. I give up on Brunetti.
Apr 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I usually enjoy Donna Leon's books and did this time. But I was a bit disappointed by the slightly facile Mafiosi angle, which seemed over-wrought. Also was surprised that she created two supposedly strong, independent female leads, who then pretty much proceeded to throw themselves at Brunetti to solve their problems. However, the bleak scenes of Venice during rising water worked really well.
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Book #5 in this excellent mystery series...and the best one yet. The opera diva we met in Death at Le Fenice returns. The plot centers on the art world, priceless Chinese ceramics from the Xian archeology excavation. Riviting. And the descriptives of beautiful Venice when enduring the floods gives a totally different perspective of the city.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I loved my pleasant journey off to Venice to solve some mysteries. The bottom line is I like my favourite comfortable character, Brunetti and his family. Guido Brunetti mysteries don’t disappoint me, I admire the plots and the deadly serious games that are played as he find himself involved in a case of a dangerous game of threats, beatings and murder.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
Another good addition to the Guido Brunetti series. Since it is set in Venice, it is quite different than the more common British or American procedurals. While corruption must exist everywhere, usually covertly, in Italy it is automatically understood to be the routine.
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Play Book Tag: Acqua Alta by Donna Leon - 4.5 stars 2 9 Oct 29, 2017 09:02AM  
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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)
  • 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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“Oh, so seldom does fate cast our enemy into our hands, to do with as we will” 8 likes
`But no name?,
'No, Guido. But I'll keep”
More quotes…