The Girl of His Dreams by Donna LeonThe Girl of His Dreams by Donna Leon
Narrator: David Colacci
Series: Commissario Brunetti #17
Published by AudioGO on April 22, 2008
Genres: Mystery
Length: 9 hrs 8 mins
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at or Purchase at Amazon
Add on Goodreads

On a rainy morning, not long after the funeral of his mother, Commissario Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello respond to a 911 call reporting a body floating near the steps in one of Venice's side canals. Reaching down to pull it out, Brunetti's wrist is caught by the silkiness of golden hair, and he sees a small foot - together he and Vianello lift a dead girl from the water. But, inconceivably, no one has reported a missing child, nor the theft of the gold jewelry that she carries. So Brunetti is drawn into a search not only for the cause of her death but also for her identity, her family, and for the secrets that people will keep in order to protect their children - be they innocent or guilty. The investigation takes Brunetti from the canals and palazzos of Venice to a Gypsy encampment on the mainland, through quicksands of connections and relationships both known and concealed, as he struggles with both institutional prejudice and entrenched criminality to try to unravel the fate of the dead child.

We’ve got two “mysteries” in The Girl of His Dreams, the death of the girl mentioned in the blurb and a potential scam being run by a man claiming to be a priest of some kind. Both are solved even if the resolutions aren’t entirely satisfying, but I guess that’s a bit like real life, not every mystery gets tied up in a neat little bow. Sometimes politics and money and being at the right place a bit too late all get in the way.

I like Brunetti. He’s happily married and actually enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife love books and conversation. While his superior is not ideal, he’s not a loner, he works well with the competent members of the force. He cares about his case, perhaps more than he should at times.

While the mystery steers the book, the musings on life, death, religion, the mafia make it slower than the typical mystery. There is less chasing down dead ends and confronting dangerous criminal and more thoughtful investigating. Leon never shies away from political/cultural issues. Here she is mostly dealing with the Rom, how and why they live the way they do and how they interact with the rest of society. Her novels can tend toward preachy for mysteries, but I enjoy them as a change of pace.

Venice is a city I would love to visit, but in the meantime Leon’s series let’s me feel like I’m there. She is great with descriptions, from food to places to the weather.

About Donna Leon

Donna Leon ( born September 28, 1942, in Montclair, New Jersey) is the American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice, Italy, featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti. In 2003, she received the Corine Literature Prize.

Leon lived in Venice for over 30 years and now resides in the small village of Val Müstair in the mountains of Grisons in Switzerland. She also has a home in Zurich. In 2020 she became a Swiss citizen. She was a lecturer in English literature for the University of Maryland University College – Europe in Italy and taught English from 1981 to 1990 at an American military base in Italy.

Her Commissario Brunetti novels all take place in or around Venice. They are written in English and have been translated into many foreign languages, but – at Leon’s request – not into Italian. The ninth Brunetti novel, Friends in High Places, won the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger in 2000. German television has produced 26 Commissario Brunetti episodes for broadcast.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.