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Donna Leon Books In Order

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Publication Order of Guido Brunetti Books

Death at La Fenice (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death in a Strange Country (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Anonymous Venetian / Dressed for Death (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Venetian Reckoning / Death and Judgment (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Acqua Alta / Death in High Water (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Death of Faith / Quietly in Their Sleep (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Noble Radiance (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fatal Remedies (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Friends in High Places (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Sea of Troubles (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wilful Behaviour (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Uniform Justice (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Doctored Evidence (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood from a Stone (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Through a Glass, Darkly (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Suffer the Little Children (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Girl of His Dreams (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
About Face (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Question of Belief (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Drawing Conclusions (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beastly Things (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Golden Egg (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
By its Cover (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Falling in Love (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Waters of Eternal Youth (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Earthly Remains (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Temptation of Forgiveness (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unto Us a Son Is Given (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trace Elements (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Transient Desires (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Give Unto Others (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
So Shall You Reap (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Refiner’s Fire (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Guido Brunetti Non-Fiction Books

Brunetti's Cookbook (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Jewels of Paradise (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Handel's Bestiary: In Search of Animals in Handel's Operas (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Venetian Curiosities (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Venice and Other Essays (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gondola (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wandering Through Life: A Memoir (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Donna Leon was born in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1942. She is the author of twenty-three crime novels that take place in Venice, Italy, and feature Commissario Guido Brunetti as the protagonist, with support characters that help him solve the crimes. While not much is known about her, Donna has been praised by fans and critics alike for her work, which is found by most to be thoughtful and descriptive by content.

Not much is known about Donna, other than what she has allowed to be published since she is a very private person and prefers to keep her private life to herself. Donna Leon has lived in Venice, Italy for just over thirty years, which has helped her with writing her novels. She has been known to describe Venice as a very peaceful, urban place of great beauty. Prior to writing her novels, she worked professionally as an English Literature lecturer at the University of Maryland University College – Europe (UMUC Europe).

Prior to her occupation as a lecturer, she worked from the years 1981-1999 in the role of Professor at the Vicenza, Italy American military base, which is one of the inspirations for her second novel entitled Death in a Strange Country. She ceased her teaching profession to concentrate on her passions: writing and working on Baroque music, among other culturally-inclined endeavors. Writing has largely been her most focused work, and it is apparent both in her novels and in her writing style, that she is a true artist of her craft. All of Donna’s novels occur within the city of Venice, Italy, or at least within the surrounding areas.

While her novels have been translated from her native English to a variety of foreign languages, she has asked that they not be translated into Italian. Donna Leon has won many awards for her books including the Suntory Mystery Fiction Grand Prize for her first novel Death at La Fenice, the Golden Book Award from the Austrian Booksellers Association, the International Deutscher Krimi Preis, 3rd place, for Dressed for Death, the CWA Silver Dagger Award for Friends in High Places, the Chorine – International Book Prize for Willful Behaviour, and the Spoken Word Awards Silver Award for Blood From a Stone.

Additionally, eighteen of her twenty-three novels have been produced as broadcast dramas by German Television. Her writings have been lauded as one of Time Magazine’s “6 Detective Series to Savor,” and she has been named as one of The Times (London, England) “Fifty Greatest Crime Writers.” The span of time within which Donna Leon has written her novels runs from the years 1992 to 2014.

Her main character, Commissario Guido Brunetti, is a police commissioner who serves under a rather pompous, slightly humorous Vice-questore by the name of Patta. Patta’s secretary, Signorina Elettra and Sergente Vianello assist Brunetti with research he needs in order to solve the crimes that occur in and around Venice.

Signorina Elettra is considered “well connected,” and is arguably the most helpful to Brunetti regarding research that is performed for his investigations; Sergente Vianello is his “right hand man,” who is pleasant and sharp-witted. Donna Leon take the opportunity to imbibe her novels with aspects of every day life in Venice, Italy, while also exposing the unpleasant, rough side of crime and its components.

One type of event that fans of her novels can enjoy, while in Venice, Italy, is a walking tour of Guido Brunetti’s Venice. Participants can envision what Brunetti might have experienced, while traversing the various destinations on the walking tour, which include specific landmarks in Venice that Brunetti has either visited; something that true fans of her work have come to relish as a truly grand experience.

The first novel written by Donna Leon is entitled Death at La Fenice. It is basically about a crime that occurs with no visible clues in which to solve it. The protagonist, police commissioner Guido Brunetti, needs to discover why a distinguished German composer by the name of Helmut Wellauer, mysteriously dies horribly from cyanide poisoning found in a cup of coffee that he initially enjoys, during the intermission of the operatic performance of La Traviata.

Brunetti finds the task of narrowing the murder suspects rather daunting, but eventually he narrows it down to the one suspect who has the most compelling reasons for having committed the crime. Revenge is a theme, in addition to depravity and other darker human themes, which most readers cannot put down, once they start their reading journey through the fantastic story. The second novel in the Brunetti series is entitled Death in a Strange Country, and starts of with a terrible find: the body of a young American Soldier is discovered floating in a Venetian canal, and is subsequently fished out for investigation and processing.

Commissario Brunetti discovers that the soldier was stationed at an American military base located just an hour west of Venice. Stab wounds are found throughout the body, and it initially appears to be an easily closed case of a brutal mugging, but for the fact that Brunetti must investigate the military base, and discover what really happened behind the murder. Of course, he discovers much more than just a mere case of mugging since the more he investigates the case, the more it is obviously not just a mugging; there is some sort of conspiracy behind it, and the poor soldier’s death is directly related to a cover-up.

While schemes within the story include some of the nicer aspects of living in Venice, there are darker themes that are found throughout the novel, especially when Brunetti starts his investigation at the military base. One of the most interesting finds in the novel, with respect to Brunetti visiting the military base, is how it seems like a completely different world to him.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Donna Leon

13 Responses to “Donna Leon”

  1. Joyce Merletti: 7 months ago

    I love Donna Leon’s writing and Guido Brunetti! I haven’t read all the books but am plugging away! Venice, that grand, fading old lady, is as much a character as Guido, and I love being able to follow him through the city by the maps in each book. My biggest question is how Donna Leon has managed not to be discretely removed from the scene ie liquidated, for her revelations of what I am certain are representative of the city’s crooked secrets. But on the other hand, I’ve just read that she doesn’t want the books translated into Italian and keeps a low profile. Brava, Donna!

    Reply
  2. Anthony J. (Tony) Agostinelli: 1 year ago

    I come to praise Leo, not to bury her. Donna Leon’s works have become my reading addiction since “Death at La Fenice”. I have not read all of her works, but I am chipping away at them. Amazon and used paperbacks from everywhere have been my uprise! When on trips o the senior residence van, the drive has been reminded not to stop at the yard and garage sales, “he’ll stay there forever looking for Donna Leon books”. Although that is not entirely true,it does come close to the truth. I enjoy your work, Ms. Leon, your attention to detail is what spurs me on when I read Brunetti’s pursuit of the criminal (s). Thank-you for that! Keep Brunetti et alii, at work…I am on the team! Tony

    Reply
  3. Lois Sabatino: 1 year ago

    In my opinion the beautifully-written Donna Leon books have been going downhill with the last three. What happened to the family unit, the food, the love and humor permeating the family? I think Leon should get off the environment bandwagon and go back to writing as she did when she invented Brunetti et al. If not, perhaps it’s time for Brunetti and Leon to retire.

    Reply
  4. Bridget Hill: 2 years ago

    (Potential spoilers ahead)

    I am really enjoying the Brunetti books but at the end of Aqua Alta why Brett not in any way held responsible for Salvatore’s death?
    If his body had been swept away it would have been understandable but it is still there and he has obviously been murdered.

    Reply
  5. Pamela O’Connor: 2 years ago

    my husband and I were passionate fans from the finish of Donna Leon’s first book! marvelous! Intelligently written.So crazy were we of her books that after “earthly Remains” we decided we HAD to go to Venice and travel the many streets and locales of Brunetti. we were able to make arrangements for a tour of many of the books with a Professor at the Academie. so great..a total Brunetti tour …that two years later we returned again to Venice for more Brunetti sites in stories…which became our favorite city of all our European travels…Thsnk you Ms Leon!!

    Reply
  6. Wayne. Struckler: 2 years ago

    Please would someone remind me of the name of the book wherein the lady doctor is writing prescriptions to get a kick-back from the pharmacist so that she can afford the private clinic that her son is at. Very serious book.

    Reply
    • Hélène: 2 years ago

      The golden egg

      Reply
      • Chris Jones: 2 years ago

        The correct book is The Temptation of Forgiveness in which Dottoressa Ruberti was found out by Signor Gasparini, whom she pushed on a bridge.

        Reply
  7. Linda E Thorsen: 3 years ago

    They start at the top and stay there – every single book! Excellent.

    Reply
  8. Linda E Thorsen: 3 years ago

    Donna Leon is probably one of the best writers of a series worldwide! I’m a voracious reader of crime fiction, but these books are so much deeper. She’s unafraid to broach corruption- environmental, political, Catholicism, etc. An amazing sense of humor! Characters so realistic and diverse in temperament. Her passion for digging and getting down and dirty regardless of repercussions grip me! Awesome!

    Reply
  9. Patricia Shapiro: 3 years ago

    I love all the Donna Leon books and have read them all except for the most recent two. In my humble opinion, the trait that Donna Leon shares with other great mystery/crime writers, like Michael Connelly, Stuart Kaminsky, etc. is to make her protagonist entirely human and believable. Guido Brunetti has become to me an completely “real” person.

    Reply
  10. chloeross3: 5 years ago

    Recommend by good friend. My sister lives near Venice – so I am going to start with her first. Who loved it?

    Reply
    • S. McMann: 2 months ago

      I have read all 32 of the Guido Brunetti books by Donna Leon. These books were recommended to me by a friend after I had read all of my favourite author,Joy Ellis’s books, and was waiting for her to write a new book. I read the first novel in Ms. Leon’s series and was not all that enthralled. But a few days afterwards, I found myself missing Brunneti, his family, and his colleagues and started on the second book. I have not been able to put these books down! (sorry, except for everytime a new Joy Ellis book comes out)!
      I have been waiting for Brunetti to find some way
      to disgrace and to get rid of Lt. Scarpa.

      Reply

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