Donna Leon bestselling mystery novels have won a multitude of fans for their insider’s portrayal of Venice. From family meals to vaporetti rides, the details and rhythms of everyday life are an integral part of this beloved series. But so are the never-ending influx of tourists and the suffocating corruption. Through it all, Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti, a good man who loves his family and his city, has been an enduring figure, but in Earthly Remains, Brunetti’s endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he quickly comes to regret, and in the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break.
Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti’s wife Paola ships him off to a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’s Natural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until David Casati, the caretaker of the house, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend.
I’ve read or listened to a fair number of the Commissario Brunetti series, but I read them out of order. It’s a bit of bad luck that both this and the one I listened to before it both deal with pollution. Yes, it’s a topic Leon keeps coming back to, apparently a major issue in Venice, but usually it’s spread out a little than it was for me this time. I would have liked a different topic, but that’s more my fault than Leon’s.
I liked that Brunetti gets out of town for a while this time around. I enjoy the early part of the story where he’s relaxing and rowing; it’s different than we usually see him. I like the people in the smaller towns, their relationships. I enjoyed the bees and how much they meant to David Casati. I missed his family a bit, but I’m sure they’ll be in the next one.
The investigation was interesting, with it’s digging into the present and the past. I was a bit disappointed, which I feel like I said about the last book of hers. I tend to want a little more resolution than she gives.
This is a great series and I enjoyed this installment. They don’t need to be read in order, however, if you’re just meeting Brunetti for the first time, I’d suggest starting with an earlier one in the series, one that’s set in Venice itself.
About Donna Leon
Donna Leon is the author of the international best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon was born in New Jersey and lived in Venice for over thirty years. She now makes her home in Switzerland.
Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.
Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.
Before long, the case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.
In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?
The mystery in Kill and Run was good. Carr lets you think you know who the bad guy is, right up until you’re wrong. Everything tied together, although some of the coincidences were a little tough to swallow. I don’t know why I thought this was going to be a cozy mystery, because it’s got a harder edge than that, which is not surprising considering Murphy is with NCI and a member of an elite secret force called the Phantoms. The tone of the narrator made it seem more like a thriller and less cozy, too. It does have a bunch of quirky animals, though, which is a cozy trait and the amateur sleuth – Jessica – who puts herself in dangerous positions.
There are a lot of characters in this. From Murphy and Jessica’s families to the military folks, it’s a lot to keep track of. I listened to the audio, I guess print and ebook versions have a cast of characters in the front, but I didn’t have access to that. For the most part, I could keep track of everyone, but it is a large cast. We do get to know the main characters well.
Jessica and Murphy are obviously in love and make a good couple. They’re both smart and their own people. I did find their pet names for each other a bit annoying. Oh, and let’s not forget that Jessica’s eyes are violet, as we’re told more than once.
It was a good mystery with lots of action and just enough clues. My main complaint is that it does rely a lot on coincidence to get everyone involved in the case. A solid read.
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Young gunslinger detectives, Mick and Casey McKee, are eager to hear some opera singing. But when somebody takes a shot at some visiting divas, the concert is off. The ladies won't sing until Mick and Casey solve a case of blackmail and murder.
So I love Mick and Casey McKee. I wish there were more stories in the series. They are a gunslingers in the old west, a young married couple. And I do mean young. She’s maybe 17. He’s the talker, she’s the shooter and they make a great pair. This time around, the couple want to see singing at the local opera house. There’s a cute story why, involving Casey’s dad. Anyway, with these two nothing is ever simple. Just as they walk in to see who is warming up, there’s a shot, apparently aimed at one of the women on stage. If the ladies are going to feel safe enough to perform, Mick and Casey need to figure what’s going on and stop it.
The mystery was good, for a short story. The actual shooter’s identity is quickly established, but who hired him and why is the question. There are a couple clues and a nice, small list of suspects.
Like I said, I really enjoy the McKees. You get a good feeling for their relationship here. It’s not quite as good as the only full-length mystery in the series, Have Gun, Will Play, but it’s definitely worth the quick read.