Donna Leon - Author

About the Author

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 has lived in Venice for thirty years.

 

author photo © Regine Mosimann

Featured books by Donna Leon

Unto Us a Son Is Given

Unto Us a Son Is Given

Author: Donna Leon Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/03/2019

The latest of Donna Leon's bestselling Venice crime novels As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, the Count Falier, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count's best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo's substantial fortune, something which Gonzalo's friends, including the Count, find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why they're so intent on meddling in the old man's business. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo's death goes unquestioned, and a few of his oldest friends gather in Venice to plan the memorial service. But when Berta, a striking woman and one of Gonzalo's closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo's past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden? Once again, Donna Leon brilliantly follows the twists and turns of the human condition, set against the ebb and flow of Venetian life.

By its Cover

By its Cover

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/03/2015

By Its Cover is the much anticipated twenty-third instalment in Donna Leon's bestselling crime series, where Commissario Brunetti is better than ever as he addresses questions of worth and value alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra. When several valuable antiquarian books go missing from a prestigious library in the heart of Venice, Commissario Brunetti is immediately called to the scene. The staff suspect an American researcher has stolen them, but for Brunetti something doesn't quite add up. Taking on the case, the Commissario begins to seek information about some of the library's regulars, such as the ex-priest Franchini, a passionate reader of ancient Christian literature, and Contessa Morosini-Albani, the library's chief donor, and comes to the conclusion that the thief could not have acted alone. However, when Franchini is found murdered in his home, the case takes a more sinister turn and soon Brunetti finds himself submerged in the dark secrets of the black market of antiquarian books. Alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra, he delves into the pages of Franchini's past and into the mind of a book thief in order to uncover the terrible truth.

eBooks of the Month
By Its Cover

By Its Cover

Author: Donna Leon Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/04/2014

By Its Cover is the much anticipated twenty-third instalment in Donna Leon's bestselling crime series, where Commissario Brunetti is better than ever as he addresses questions of worth and value alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra. When several valuable antiquarian books go missing from a prestigious library in the heart of Venice, Commissario Brunetti is immediately called to the scene. The staff suspect an American researcher has stolen them, but for Brunetti something doesn't quite add up. Taking on the case, the Commissario begins to seek information about some of the library's regulars, such as the ex-priest Franchini, a passionate reader of ancient Christian literature, and Contessa Morosini-Albani, the library's chief donor, and comes to the conclusion that the thief could not have acted alone. However, when Franchini is found murdered in his home, the case takes a more sinister turn and soon Brunetti finds himself submerged in the dark secrets of the black market of antiquarian books. Alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra, he delves into the pages of Franchini's past and into the mind of a book thief in order to uncover the terrible truth.

eBooks of the Month
A Question of Belief

A Question of Belief

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2011

As Venice experiences a debilitating heatwave, Commissario Brunetti prepares to escape the city and spend time with his family in the mountains. For Ispettore Vianello, however, the weather is the last thing on his mind; it appears his aunt has become obsessed with horoscopes and 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 receives a visit from a friend who works at the Commune. It seems that discrepancies have been occurring at the Courthouse involving Judge Luisa Coltellini and Araldo Fontana, an usher with a flawless track record. Intrigued, Brunetti asks Signorina Elletra to find out what she can while he is away on his family holiday. When news reaches Brunetti that Araldo Fontana has been murdered in a violent attack, he returns to the city to head up the investigation. But why would someone want a good man dead, and what might his death have to do with the discrepancies at the Courthouse? It soon becomes clear that things are not what they seem, and as suspicions arise Brunetti has to dig ever deeper to uncover the truth behind the facade.

eBooks of the Month
Blood From A Stone

Blood From A Stone

Author: Donna Leon Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2005

If you are already a fan of Donna Leon’s fictional creation, Commissario Brunetti, then this is definitely one of his best.  If however, you are looking for a new crime author then do read Blood from a Stone, which is particularly timely.  Two mysterious white men carry out a professional hit on one of the Somali traders who illegally hawk counterfeit luggage in a local square, and for some reason, Brunetti's superiors are remarkably keen that the case be left unsolved.  But, Brunetti, has no particular gift for obedience to unreasonable orders and his conscience tells him he must solve the crime.  As ever, Leon has her finger on the criminal pulse of life in Venice. Comparisons: Barbara Nadel, Magdalen Nabb

eBooks of the Month
Doctored Evidence

Doctored Evidence

Author: Donna Leon Format: Ebook Release Date: 01/04/2007

Internationally acclaimed author Donna Leon has earned lavish accolades for her elegant Venetian mysteries featuring the irresistibly charming Commissario Brunetti. Now, following her magnificently received Uniform Justice, she presents her most beguiling and thrilling mystery yet. Against the atmospheric backdrop of the city of Venice, Brunetti finds himself fighting a lone battle to prove the innocence of a Romanian housekeeper accused of brutally murdering her miserly employer. With the odds stacked against her from the onset of the investigation when she fled from police, her guilt seems a fait accompli ... until a neighbor comes forward to protest the innocence of the accused. Stealthily working his way through the labyrinthine alleys of Venice, death nipping at his heels, Brunetti will have to defy his superiors to vindicate the housekeeper and stop her employer's real killer before he murders again.

eBooks of the Month

Other books by Donna Leon

Transient Desires

Transient Desires

Author: Donna Leon Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2021

'The climax is nothing less than a trip - across the laguna - into the heart of darkness ... Leon's special skill is to splice glimpses of la dolce vita with acute analysis of moral and ethical dilemmas ... The series that has shadowed Brunetti for three decades is an epic achievement.' The Times Chosen as Star Pick in the Sunday Times Crime Club Chosen as a 'Best New Crime Novel' in the Sunday Times __________________________________ In his many years as a Commissario, Guido Brunetti has seen all manner of crime and known intuitively how to navigate the various pathways in his native Venice to discover the person responsible. Now, in the thirtieth novel in Donna Leon's masterful series, he faces a heinous crime committed outside his jurisdiction. He is drawn in innocently enough: two young American women have been badly injured in a boating accident, joy riding in the Laguna with two young Italians. However, Brunetti's curiosity is aroused by the behaviour of the young men, who abandoned the victims after taking them to the hospital. If the injuries were the result of an accident, why did they want to avoid association with it? As Brunetti and his colleague, Claudia Griffoni, investigate the incident, they discover that one of the young men works for a man rumoured to be involved in more sinister night-time activities in the Laguna. To get to the bottom of what proves to be a gut-wrenching case, Brunetti needs to enlist the help of both the Carabinieri and the Guardia Costiera. Determining how much trust he and Griffoni can put in these unfamiliar colleagues adds to the difficulty of solving a peculiarly horrible crime whose perpetrators are technologically brilliant and ruthlessly organised. Donna Leon's thirtieth Brunetti novel is as powerful as any she has written, testing Brunetti to his limits, forcing him to listen very carefully for the truth.

Trace Elements

Trace Elements

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/09/2020

'Donna Leon's appreciation of her adopted city's sublime yet fragile magnificence is as fresh (and invigorating) today as it was when Death at La Fenice was published in 1992. However, her anger at the damage caused by tourism and pollution has grown stronger over the years ... Should anyone still doubt that Leon is a superb novelist, let them consider the scene in which Guido gently questions a woman during the last few minutes of her life. You can feel the tension, fear, horror - and wonder.' The Times A New York Times Bestseller __________________________________ 'They killed him. It was bad money.' A dying hospice patient gasps these cryptic words about her recently-deceased husband. Brunetti softly promises he will look into what appears to be a private family tragedy. He discovers that her husband worked for a company that monitored the cleanliness of Venice's water supply and that he had died in a motorcycle accident. Distracted briefly by Vice Questore Patta's obsession with youth crime in Venice, Brunetti turns to the remarkable research skills of Patta's secretary, Signora Elettra Zorzi. With her help, Brunetti comes to realize the perilous meaning in the dying woman's accusation and the threat it reveals to the health of the entire region. 'Atmospheric, clever, witty and amusing. If I were only allowed to read one crime series again it would be that of Donna Leon.' The Times

Unto Us a Son Is Given

Unto Us a Son Is Given

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2019

SHORTLISTED FOR THE GOLD DAGGER AWARD The latest bestselling Venice crime novel from celebrated author Donna Leon As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, the Count Falier, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count's best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo's substantial fortune, something which Gonzalo's friends, including the Count, find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why they're so intent on meddling in the old man's business. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo's death goes unquestioned, and a few of his oldest friends gather in Venice to plan the memorial service. But when Berta, a striking woman and one of Gonzalo's closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo's past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden? Once again, Donna Leon brilliantly follows the twists and turns of the human condition, set against the ebb and flow of Venetian life.

The Temptation of Forgiveness

The Temptation of Forgiveness

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/09/2018

A suspicious accident draws Brunetti into Venice's underworld - with unintended, disturbing consequences... When important information is leaked from inside the Venetian Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is entrusted with the task of uncovering which of his colleagues is responsible. But before Brunetti can begin his investigation, he is surprised by the appearance in his office of a friend of his wife's, who is fearful that her son is using drugs. A few weeks later, Tullio Gasparini, the woman's husband, is found unconscious with a serious head injury at the foot of a bridge, and Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy's behaviour. But the truth is not straightforward. Following various contradictory leads, Brunetti navigates his way through a world of mysterious informants, underground deals and secret longstanding scam networks, all the while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness of Signorina Elettra, Vice-Questore Patta's secretary and gate-keeper. With Gasparini's condition showing no signs of improvement, and his investigations leading nowhere, Brunetti is steadied by the embrace of his own family and by his passion for the classics. He turns to Sophocles's Antigone in an attempt to understand the true purpose of justice, and, in its light, he is forced to consider the terrible consequences to which the actions of a tender heart can lead.

Temptation of Forgiveness

Temptation of Forgiveness

Author: Donna Leon Format: Ebook Release Date: 05/04/2018

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon, read by David Sibley. When important information is leaked from inside the Venetian Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is entrusted with the task of uncovering which of his colleagues is responsible. But before Brunetti can begin his investigation, he is surprised by the appearance in his office of a friend of his wife's, who is fearful that her son is using drugs. A few weeks later, Tullio Gasparini, the woman's husband, is found unconscious with a serious head injury at the foot of a bridge, and Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy's behaviour. But the truth is not straightforward.Following various contradictory leads, Brunetti navigates his way through a world of mysterious informants, underground deals and secret longstanding scam networks, all the while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness of Signorina Elettra, Vice-Questore Patta's secretary and gate-keeper.With Gasparini's condition showing no signs of improvement, and his investigations leading nowhere, Brunetti is steadied by the embrace of his own family and by his passion for the classics. He turns to Sophocles's Antigone in an attempt to understand the true purpose of justice, and, in its light, he is forced to consider the terrible consequences to which the actions of a tender heart can lead.

Earthly Remains

Earthly Remains

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/09/2017

'When she's writing about her beloved Venice, Donna Leon can do no wrong. And Earthly Remains, her new mystery featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, is one of her best. It's also one of her saddest, dealing as it does with the seemingly unstoppable polluting of the great lagoon . . . Leon dares to try, once again earning the gratitude of her devoted readers.' New York Times A New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Top Ten Crime Novel of 2017 A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice An Amazon Best Book of the Month (Mystery) __________________________________ Granted leave from the Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti decides to finally take a well-earned break and visit Sant'Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the Venetian laguna. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Davide Casati, the mysterious caretaker of the villa Brunetti has been staying in, goes missing following a sudden storm. Nobody can find him - not his daughter, not his friends, and not the woman he's been secretly visiting . . . Convinced that this was no accident, Brunetti feels compelled to set aside his holiday and discover what happened to the man who had recently become his friend.

The Waters of Eternal Youth

The Waters of Eternal Youth

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/03/2017

In The Waters of Eternal Youth, the twenty-fifth instalment in the bestselling Brunetti series, our Commissario finds himself drawn into a case that may not be a crime at all. Brunetti is investigating a cold case by request of the grand Contessa Lando-Continui, a friend of Brunetti's mother-in-law. Fifteen years ago the Contessa's teenage granddaughter, Manuela, was found drowning in a canal. She was rescued from the canal at the last moment, but in many ways it was too late; she suffered severe brain damage and her life was never the same again. Once a passionate horse rider, Manuela, now aged thirty, cannot remember the accident, or her beloved horse, and lives trapped in an eternal youth. The Contessa, unconvinced that this was an accident, implores Brunetti to find the culprit she believes was responsible for ruining Manuela's life. Out of a mixture of curiosity, pity and a willingness to fulfil the wishes of a loving grandmother, Brunetti reopens the case. But once he starts to investigate, Brunetti finds a murky past and a dark story at its heart. The Waters of Eternal Youth is awash in the rhythms and concerns of contemporary Venetian life, from historical preservation, to housing, to new waves of African migrants, all circling the haunting story of a woman trapped in a perpetual childhood.

Falling in Love

Falling in Love

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/03/2016

In Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon's first novel in the Commissario Brunetti series, readers were introduced to the glamorous and cut-throat world of opera and to one of Italy's finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli - then a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Now, many years after Brunetti cleared her name, Flavia has returned to the illustrious La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca. As an opera superstar, Flavia is well acquainted with attention from adoring fans and aspiring singers. But when one anonymous admirer inundates her with bouquets of yellow roses - on stage, in her dressing room and even inside her locked apartment - it becomes clear that this fan has become a potentially dangerous stalker. Distraught, Flavia turns to an old friend for help. Familiar with Flavia's melodramatic temperament, Commissario Brunetti is at first unperturbed by her story, but when another young opera singer is attacked he begins to think Flavia's fears may be justified. In order to keep his friend out of danger, Brunetti must enter the psyche of an obsessive fan and find the culprit before anyone comes to harm.

The Golden Egg

The Golden Egg

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/03/2014

'The familiar characters and Venetian location are described with remarkable freshness and, as always, the edifying result is both amusing and thought-provoking.' Sunday Telegraph A New York Times Bestseller __________________________________ Celebrated by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers, Donna Leon brings Venice to life in the twenty-second Brunetti novel of this bestselling series, where our detective must uncover the mystery surrounding a mute man's murder. When making routine enquiries into a possible bribery case that could embarrass the mayor - a humiliation Vice-Questore Patta is very keen to avoid - Commissario Brunetti receives a call from his wife, Paola, who is evidently very upset. The middle-aged deaf mute with the mental age of a child who helped out at the Brunetti's dry cleaners has been found dead - an 'accidental' overdose of his mother's sleeping pills - and Paola is distraught by the news. To the neighbourhood he was just the 'boy' who helped out, but nobody knew much about him - not even his name. That a soul could have lived such a joyless life is too much for Paola to bear, and she asks Guido if he can find out what happened. It is a surprise to Brunetti just how little was known about this man-child - there are no official records to show he even existed. The man's mother is angry and contradictory when questioned about his death, and Brunetti senses that there much more to the story than she is willing to tell. With the help of Inspector Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra, perhaps Brunetti can get to the truth and find some measure of solace.

The Jewels of Paradise

The Jewels of Paradise

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/10/2013

From the bestselling author of the Brunetti crime series comes The Jewels of Paradise, a gripping tale of intrigue, music, history and greed and Donna Leon's first stand-alone novel. Caterina Pellegrini is a young Venetian musicologist hired to find the rightful heir to an alleged treasure concealed by a once-famous, but now almost forgotten, baroque composer. Sworn to secrecy, Caterina can solve the mystery only by searching through the papers contained in two chests that have not been opened for centuries. As she delves into all quarters of his life, she is drawn into one of the most scandalous affairs of the baroque era. What dark secrets do these chests hold, and just whom can she trust?

Golden Egg

Golden Egg

Author: Donna Leon Format: Ebook Release Date: 01/04/2013

Golden Egg by Donna Leon

Beastly Things

Beastly Things

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/03/2013

'The book is written with that depth of thought about crime and humanity that characterises the best of Leon's work.' Jane Jakeman, Independent Maclean's Magazine (Canada) National Bestseller __________________________________ When a body is found floating in a canal, strangely disfigured and with multiple stab wounds, Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate and is convinced he recognises the man from somewhere. However, with no identification except for the distinctive shoes the man was wearing, and no reports of people missing from the Venice area, the case cannot progress. Brunetti soon realises why he remembers the dead man, and asks Signorina Elettra if she can help him find footage of a farmers' protest the previous autumn. But what was his involvement with the protest, and what does it have to do with his murder? Acting on the fragile lead, Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello set out to uncover the man's identity. Their investigation eventually takes them to a slaughterhouse on the mainland, where they discover the origin of the crime, and the world of blackmail and corruption that surrounds it. Both a gripping case and a harrowing exploration of the dark side of Italy's meat industry, Donna Leon's latest novel is a compelling addition to the Brunetti series.

Drawing Conclusions

Drawing Conclusions

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2012

[Leon's] portrait of Venice and modern Italy is, as always, captivating...The lively conversations between...characters, displaying Leon's sly humour, are a delight. Evening Standard A Kirkus Reviews Best Mystery 2011 A Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Bestseller __________________________________ A young woman returns from holiday to find her elderly neighbour dead on the floor. A heart attack seems the likely cause, but Commissario Brunetti is not so sure and decides to take a closer look. Soon he discovers that she was part of an organization that cares for abused women and that her apartment was a safe-house. Convinced that this is the lead he has been looking for, Brunetti begins his search for answers. But as he sets out to discover the truth behind her death, he is drawn into a decades-old story of lies and deceit that has blighted love and ruined lives - and has claimed this innocent woman as its newest victim. Brunetti's investigation takes him deep into the dark heart of his beloved Venice.

Fatal Remedies

Fatal Remedies

Author: Donna Leon Format: Ebook Release Date: 01/03/2012

In Fatal Remedies, Brunetti's career is under threat when his professional and personal lives unexpectedly intersect. In the chill of the Venetian dawn, a sudden act of vandalism shatters the quiet of the deserted city, and Brunetti is shocked to find that the culprit waiting to be apprehended at the scene is a member of his own family. Meanwhile, he is also under pressure from his superiors to solve a daring robbery with connections to a suspicious accidental death. Could the two crimes be connected? And will Brunetti be able to prove his family's innocence before it's too late?

Acqua Alta

Acqua Alta

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/01/2012

Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Questura is shocked to hear that Brett Lynch, a friend since a murder case at La Fenice, has suffered a savage beating. The attack, in the beautiful palazzo home of Flavia Petrelli, reigning diva of La Scala, had come with a message: 'Don't keep that appointment with Dottor Semenzato.' Then, with the storm clouds gathering fast over the city, a man's body is found . . .

A Venetian Reckoning

A Venetian Reckoning

Author: Donna Leon Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/01/2012

A lorry crashes on one of the treacherous bends in the Italian Dolomites, spilling a terrible cargo . . . A prominent international layer is found dead in the carriage of an intercity train at Saint Lucia . . . Can the two tragedies possibly be connected? Commissario Guido Brunetti digs deep into the secret lives of the once great and good for the answer. For in a seedy Venetian bar lies the clue to an evil crime network reaching far beyond the laguna. But it will take another violent death in Venice before the forces of justice can even begin to proceed . . .