Through a Glass,Darkly by Donna LeonThrough a Glass, Darkly by Donna Leon
Narrator: David Colacci
Series: Commissario Brunetti #15
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on May 18, 2006
Genres: Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 36 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Donna Leon opens doors to the hidden Venice like no one else. With her latest novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, Leon takes us inside the secretive island of Murano, home of the world-famous glass factories.

On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello's friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced by the fury of the man's father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass factory owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti. Brunetti's curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? Then one morning the body of De Cal's night watchman is found. Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, in quiet bars, and down narrow streets, Brunetti searches for the killer. Will he unravel the clues before the night watchman's death is allowed to be forgotten?

It always seems like Leon has a topic she wants to discuss and works her mystery around that. This time around it’s pollution and the environment.

This was not my favorite in the series. The mystery doesn’t really get started until maybe half way through. Up until them Brunetti is investigating even though the only “crime” was that a woman he barely knows is worried that her father will harm her husband. I’ll grant you that does tie in to the eventual mystery, but a lot of Brunetti’s investigating and thinking happens before the actual murder. And someone entirely different is killed.

I enjoy the bits of daily life, Brunetti’s conversations with his wife and kids, the delicious food. In this one, I found the glass making process interesting. It works better as a novel the a standard mystery I think.

I hated the ending. I listened to the audio version, as I always do with this series and I felt like the end wasn’t resolved enough for me. I was left with a “that’s it?” feeling.

I love the series overall, just don’t think this was one of the stronger entries.

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 Mรผstair 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ at Leon’s request โ€“ 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.


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