I seldom read crime, but occasionally I’ll read one of Donna Leon’s Venetian novels.  She has a wonderful knack of portraying Venice and its inhabitants  that conveys all the characters and foreign atmosphere the reader could ever want; no need to  buy expensive air tickets to Italy, just read one of her crime novels!

As ever, this story features her detective, Commissario Brunetti who – after doing something stupidly rash – lands up in hospital and thereafter on two weeks sick leave, which he chooses to spend in a family villa, on the island of Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna.  He plans to  go rowing on the lagoon, rest and recover. Which he does, to his benefit and enjoyment until … but I’ll stop here lest I spoil the story.

Unlike most of her Venetian novels, there’s hardly any detail about Brunetti and his family. I’ve always enjoyed the domestic  accounts of what the family eat for lunch and dinner, and what his kids are doing. This time the story focuses on Brunetti, the lagoon, the islands, and ecology.

I dislike crime novels that focus on graphic violence, or forensic gore. Or, for that matter, heavy psychological Scandinavian gloom. Donna Leon avoids these pitfalls and always gives the reader a good story.  She does so yet again in this book.

Heartily recommended.


3 thoughts on “EARTHLY REMAINS – Donna Leon

  1. I too have never been a fan of crime stories, and avoid anything hinting of violence or gore. I can never understand why people love crime so much. How many readers know anybody who has been murdered? I actually knew two men who were murdered in separate incidents and at different times. Those stories could never be told as entertainment.


  2. I quite agree with you. It’s always fascinated me that readers choose crime novels as relaxation. Relaxation, for goodness sake! Especially with modern forensic novels that are dripping with blood. I can understand people’s enjoyment of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, or the Agatha Christie mysteries – there the enjoyment lay in trying the solve the puzzle, but modern psychological criminal; tales? not for me, thank you!


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