A Question of Belief by Donna Leon

by |May 5, 2010

If you’re anything like me you’re staring longingly at the photo above, willing yourself there. You might even be readying to dive right in. Be careful, you’re probably about to discover, as I just did, that hitting your head against a monitor hurts.

Ah… Venice! Italy! How I long to be there! If only I had the time and money to go, if only I spoke Italian, if only the canals didn’t smell so, if only I could live in a country run by The Great Silvio!

There is a way: but it’s A Question of Belief! Yes, as fans already know, the quickest and cheapest route to Italy is via the novels of Donna Leon!

Donna Leon’s sumptuous series of novels featuring the principled, warm-hearted Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti have won her countless fans, critical acclaim, and international renown as one of the world’s best crime writers. And has even spawned a cookbook – see here.

In A Question of Belief, the nineteenth novel in the best-selling series, Brunetti must contend with ingenious corruption, bureaucratic intransigence, and the stifling heat of a Venetian summer.

If you haven’t heard of Donna Leon but love Venice and Italy and want try one of her novels, then start at the beginning, start with – Death at La Fenicesee here.

If you’re a lover of Italy and a lover of crime mysteries, if you’ve read Michael Dibdin or Andrea Camilleri or David Hewson and you  haven’t read Donna Leon yet, what are you waiting for?

It’s crime mystery series set in Venice! Indulge two great loves in one series!

Here’s what our CrimeBUZZ editor Chris Bilkey had to say about A Question of Belief:

As Venice experiences a heatwave, Commissario Brunetti prepares to escape the city. For Ispettore Vianello, however, the weather is the last thing on his mind; it appears his aunt has been withdrawing large amounts of money from the family business. Not knowing what to do, he consults Brunetti and asks permission to trail her. This ‘unofficial’ investigation leads them to the flat of Stefano Gorini. But who is this man? And why is Vianello’s aunt giving him large amounts of money?

Meanwhile, Brunetti is made aware that discrepancies have been occurring at the Courthouse involving Judge Luisa Coltellini and Araldo Fontana, an usher with a flawless track record. When news surfaces that Araldo Fontana has been murdered in a violent attack, Brunetti heads up the investigation – why would someone want a good man dead, and what might his death have to do with the discrepancies at the Courthouse?.

Donna Leon delivers her usual flawless performance. Her knowledge and love of Venice shines through, and her Commissario Brunetti is as believable and empathetic as ever. Another joy!

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I love Venice- I adore Italy. Backpacked around the country when I was 20 for six months, and have returned as often as I could since. Never heard of Donna Leon though- thanks for the recommendation 🙂

    • May 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      You’re very welcome Kylie.

      Here are a few more gems set (wholly or partly) in Venice:

      Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
      Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway.
      Wings of the Dove by Henry James
      Beauchamp’s Career by George Meredith
      The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

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