One of the three of the NYT Literary Tour of Italy's Libraries
Books written by Donna Leon are about Italian culture and relationships; solving the mystery is secondary. "By Its Cover" deals with the theft and vandalization of rare books.
Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries celebrate life which is a welcome change from mysteries that dwell on violent murder. I would rate "By Its Cover" at 4.0 stars.
If you've been to Venice, you'll feel like you are back there. If you haven't been yet, you'll want to go after reading Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries. This particular one involves stolen and vandalized rare books.
Set in Venice, this series of detective stories are wonderful. A lot goes on beyond the case this detective works on. The author obviously loves this city, warts and all. The characters are well rounded, the plots interesting and the 'colour' fascinating.
She could have done so much with the story but it falls flat.
You can never go wrong with a Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery. If like me, you are a librarian and going on a cruise from Venice, this book has special meaning. I’d never thought about how the wake caused by those huge cruise ships impact the fragile Venice buildings. Granted cruise ships are only mentioned in passing, but that’s going to have a big impact on my as my huge cruise ship leaves port. Leon does such a good job creating her characters, both the ones that appear in every story and the ones who just appear in one. You want to visit Venice? Leon really gives you a good feel what life in like in this magical city.
I've read all of Donna Leon's Brunetti series and love them. I appreciated this one for the wit and social commentary which Leon does so well. However, this book seemed to be about 100 pages short of a complete mystery. The story ended so abruptly that it seemed that Leon got bored with the story herself!
I just could not get into this book and gave up about a third of the way through.
I've loved Donna Leon's previous Brunetti books, but this one started slow, painfully slow. I didn't mind learning from her about very old books and the thefts thereof, but nothing much happened in the plot for the first half of the book. Then when it did, the details seemed to get str-e-t-c-hed out too much. And as other readers have noted, the ending was abrupt.
Usually I really like the parts of her books that include other police officers, and also Brunetti's family, but in this one all those parts feel patched on. None of the characters seem real, which isn't like Leon.
If this'd been the first Leon mystery I'd read, it'd be my last.
As usual, Brunetti's boss wants to accept the obvious suspect when pages are stolen from books in a prestigious rare-book Venetian library. And as usual, Brunetti looks beyond the obvious. The obvious suspect, the man who looked at those books for weeks, has disappeared--and didn't exist in the first place. When the old man who spent his days in the library reading theology is murdered, Brunetti must look in another direction. Again, when he finds the solution, he must decide whether to let the law run its course, or do the moral thing.
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