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Death and Judgment

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Detective Guido Brunetti is submerged in the seedy Venetian underworld as he tries to crack a prostitution ring run by wealthy and powerful citizens. From the author of Dressed for Death. National ad/promo.


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Detective Guido Brunetti is submerged in the seedy Venetian underworld as he tries to crack a prostitution ring run by wealthy and powerful citizens. From the author of Dressed for Death. National ad/promo.

30 review for Death and Judgment

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex is The Romance Fox

    We return to the beautiful city of Venice and meet up once again with Commissario Guido Brunetti, in Donna Leon’s 4th book in the Commissario Brunetti Series. A truck crashes on a mountain road in the Italian Dolomites, killing the driver and a cargo of unidentified women. A month later, a prominent local lawyer, is found murder on an intercity train in Venice. Two incidents that seem totally unrelated until Commissario Brunetti begins investigating the murder of the lawyer, who has a clean record We return to the beautiful city of Venice and meet up once again with Commissario Guido Brunetti, in Donna Leon’s 4th book in the Commissario Brunetti Series. A truck crashes on a mountain road in the Italian Dolomites, killing the driver and a cargo of unidentified women. A month later, a prominent local lawyer, is found murder on an intercity train in Venice. Two incidents that seem totally unrelated until Commissario Brunetti begins investigating the murder of the lawyer, who has a clean record – something Brunetti finds hard to believe in such a corrupt city like Venice. And when the lawyer’s brother-in-law is murdered, Brunetti digs deeper into the coincidences that link the three crimes and discovers something so horrifying and so shocking that points to the powerful and elite society being part of a ring that deals with prostitution, human trafficking and the making of snuff movies and even child pornography. This is a dark and sad story of how powerful people see themselves above the law and see corruption as just part of their lives. Corruption continues infiltrating everything in the city and how the country’s laws are so outdated and confusing, which makes it possible for criminals to bend the rules for their benefit. Brunetti’s frustration at the abuse of power and how justice is manipulated is something that he feels strongly about. “Why bother to put the boy who broke into a house in jail when the man who stole billions from the health system is named ambassador to the country to which he had been sending the money for years?” We follow the thoughts and actions of different characters in the story as well as Brunetti’s, which gives us an insight about the case. I enjoyed seeing the special bond Brunetti has with his daughter, Chiara, who even helps him out with the case by offering to be one of his “spies”. We also see a bit of Brunetti’s humor…….. ‘How will I know you?’ Brunetti asked, hoping della Corte wouldn’t be a cop who looked like a cop. ‘I’m bald. How will I know you?’ ‘I look like a cop.’ The story is set in the 90’s and I had great fun reading about the new technology that was available at that time……Signorina Elletra, of course, is totally up to date with new items on the market….. “I’ve had a modem installed on the Vice-Questore’s phone,” she said, pointing to a metal box that sat on the desk a few centimeters from the phone. Wires, Brunetti saw, led from the box to her computer.” The results and conclusion of the case were frustrating and depressing. Excellent story revolving around human trafficking and slavery which is still happening today.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This one near the beginning of the Brunetti series (#4) is not joyful. But it probably contains important concepts for the series and for the crux of Italian justice system's response to the horror of the sex slave, prostitution and snuff film industries using women shipped from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America. And through that window also the context of Guido's associates within policing for the other districts in the Veneto. So it sets a pivotal stage. He is in Mestre, Padua area This one near the beginning of the Brunetti series (#4) is not joyful. But it probably contains important concepts for the series and for the crux of Italian justice system's response to the horror of the sex slave, prostitution and snuff film industries using women shipped from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America. And through that window also the context of Guido's associates within policing for the other districts in the Veneto. So it sets a pivotal stage. He is in Mestre, Padua areas especially through large chunks of this novel. We also have some scrumptious meals. A truffle fettuccine and duck meal in Padua with his compatriot of their service, that's one that was superb. But most of this one is procedure and dire. It's probably the darkest of all the 25. (I only have one more out of all of those novels that I have not read at this time.) Although there were some lighter moments with Chiara, that mood never surmounts the seriousness of this period for Guido. But that deal he makes with Chiara also ensues with a result that involves and hurts Chiara in eventuality. It's part of the territory for being a cop's kid. Rarely, rarely is that "getting caught in the loop of visceral mire to horrific crime" able to be kept isolated from/ to a cop's offspring. First hand, at that- I've seen it with my brother's kids. It's an issue that is hardly considered and yet quite real. In this one Paola's jokes and work tales are more highly condescending than in any other of the books on top of it. So I can see that although this may NOT be a favorite Brunetti read for many, it actually holds some exact definitive structural core for what Donna Leon is telling us about the governmental levels and the depth of corruption in the authority. But saying that, IMHO, she (the author) is essentially naive. Because that level of power brokerage and political hierarchy determining uneven consequence and corrupt influences perverting bureaucracy - it reigns far, far beyond the levels of Italy. And not just in a few places on this earth. Be they nations or countries or counties. Or departmental cabals. My city is far worse. It's ironic that I kept this read until nearly last out of 25, not purposely either. Mainly it was because it was the one book that was held in the vast library system in the least numbers and with the lowest retention of copy (this book is 20 years old). So it was harder to get on ILL loan. And I DO understand why. This one was dark. Guido the kind policeman actually had to be the John as Guido the Plumber. It didn't feel right- and Venice itself could barely shine this Fall season within such a role play. But it has some excellent quotes and holds a real core of why Guido can and will be strength. Added later, because I realize I omitted something that's important. This also initiates two prime "methods" of the series. I always wondered what Elettra is "giving back" for the information she gets from "friends" in the hacking. Well, this one lets you into that picture completely. And Guido is utterly compliant in writing the "sorry we made a mistake" pay-up letter/letters . And so also in the issue with how he ultimately either controls or confronts Patta when the pressure is coming from above to instigate a blind eye. Guido is perfecting his radar in this book #4; to Patta /Scarpa and the real idiots like Alvise and the other stupido who never relates a completed message or includes a pivotal question when it is essentially needed. HIS DEFENSE ALERT IS THIS- when the morning begins with Patta saying three pleasant or mannerly comments in a row- WATCH OUT. It serves him well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    These are extremely dark books, and this is one of the darkest. A truck crashes in the mountains near Treviso - the driver is killed, as are several unidentified women being transported from the Balkans. Several murders then occur in Venice, and eventually the web of profit from this modern form of sex slavery and snuff films turns out to be connected to all three of the murders. The murderer...I will not spoil this...the outcome is both satisfying and excruciatingly frustrating. The books are en These are extremely dark books, and this is one of the darkest. A truck crashes in the mountains near Treviso - the driver is killed, as are several unidentified women being transported from the Balkans. Several murders then occur in Venice, and eventually the web of profit from this modern form of sex slavery and snuff films turns out to be connected to all three of the murders. The murderer...I will not spoil this...the outcome is both satisfying and excruciatingly frustrating. The books are enjoyable despite the darkness, because of Guido Brunetti's personality and family life, which in this case is directly connected to the solution of the murders. The city of Venice is a character too, and in an entirely natural way assumes prominence through Guido's eyes, as he takes solace from the beauty of the city and gains strength to pursue the truth, even though the cards of the venal Italian justice system are stacked against him. I cannot think of another series that so seriously and directly addresses issues of morality and justice without becoming preachy or unreadably sombre. This is my second reading of books 2, 3, and 4 in the Brunetti series, and every one has been equally fascinating the second time through. Leon discusses this book in an interview... http://italian-mysteries.com/leon-int... It is one of her favorites because it explores the idea of vigilante justice. Edit, post-Trump, 2017: Leon first published this in 1995. That would have been just after Berlusconi's election. From Wikipedia, just to remind us: "Berlusconi was Prime Minister for nine years in total, making him the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy, and the third longest-serving since Italian unification, after Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Giolitti. He was the leader of the centre-right party Forza Italia from 1994 to 2009, and its successor party The People of Freedom from 2009 to 2013." However the corruption to which she refers must have gone on for years before 1994: "All, or what seemed like all, of the major political figures who had ruled the country since Brunetti was a child had been named in accusation, named again on different charges, and had even begun to name one another, and yet not one of them had been tried and sentenced, though the coffers of the state had been sucked dry. They'd had their snouts in the public trough for decades, yet nothing seemed strong enough -- not public rage, not an upwelling of national disgust -- to sweep them from power." The English writers whom Paola loves and reads compulsively and teaches to students knew about honour. "But it wasn't important just to them, the writers; their whole society thought some things were important: honour, a person's good name, one's word." Signora Trevisan, wife of the lawyer who is murdered, responding to Brunetti's questions about those responsible for making and distributing the snuff tapes: "They never talked about the tapes. Not really. They just said things, and I understood what they meant." "He didn't bother to contradict her, certain as he was that this was going to become the truth around which her future would be constructed -- to suspect is not to know, and if you don't know, then you aren't responsible, not in any real way, for what happens. His certainty grew so strong that Brunetti's soul sickened with it, and he knew he could no longer stay in the same room with this woman." Reading these books, now, in this time -- I have never before longed for the existence of hell -- but now I do, if only because justice will be possible. Beyond the now, beyond history.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    The political corruption and public moral depravity faced by Commissario Guido Brunetti as he attempts to do his job of maintaining law and order in his beloved city of Venice are utterly disheartening and demoralizing. Even just reading about them is disheartening and demoralizing. The depths to which human beings eagerly sink in order to gratify their desires or to enrich themselves is, quite simply, horrifying. At one time in the not too distant past, I could have read these stories with more The political corruption and public moral depravity faced by Commissario Guido Brunetti as he attempts to do his job of maintaining law and order in his beloved city of Venice are utterly disheartening and demoralizing. Even just reading about them is disheartening and demoralizing. The depths to which human beings eagerly sink in order to gratify their desires or to enrich themselves is, quite simply, horrifying. At one time in the not too distant past, I could have read these stories with more dispassion and objectivity. But today a society's descent into moral turpitude where the rich and powerful are able to befoul the water, air, and soil and to use defenseless fellow human beings in whatever way they choose just hits a bit close to home. Consequently, although I am as charmed as ever by Guido and his family, I found this fourth book in the series difficult reading. The plot revolves around human trafficking. A group of powerful and influential men in Italy are bringing in women from poor countries - mostly Slavic women from eastern European countries - to be used as prostitutes or in pornographic films, including snuff films where the women are brutalized and killed, that are distributed in Europe and America. Typically, the women are promised jobs or love and marriage and a better life to entice them, but once they get to the country, their passports are taken and they are forced to do their "owners'" bidding. All of this, however, is revealed incrementally. We begin with a truck filled with lumber and, as it happens, eight smuggled women, slipping on a snow and ice clogged highway and sliding off the road into a ravine. The driver and all the women are killed. This happens north of Venice and Commissario Brunetti is not involved in the investigation. He is only tangentially aware of it and the entire story soon slips out of the headlines and is essentially forgotten. Sometime later, in Venice, a rich and powerful businessman is shot and killed in a train and Brunetti is assigned to the case. A little later, another businessman dies from carbon monoxide poisoning in his closed garage. The initial autopsy findings show a large dose of barbiturates that would have caused him to be unconscious; then mysteriously, the autopsy findings are altered to support a finding of suicide. Brunetti is still puzzling over his initial case when yet another businessman is killed; this one the brother-in-law of the first who had served as accountant for that man's business. He is shot three times just as the man on the train was. Brunetti suspects that all three deaths are related and begins to probe their lives to try to find a connection and a reason why someone might have wanted the three dead. Brunetti encounters obstacles at every turn, but he has developed his own circle of trusted confidantes, fellow policemen, and persons in positions of power who owe him favors and are willing to find and pass along information to him. He doggedly pursues his investigation, calling on those he trusts for assistance. Obviously, Brunetti has learned to operate in the toxic swill of Venetian politics and survive. This may be the most pessimistic yet of Donna Leon's Brunetti novels and it is certainly the most graphically violent. Leon lives in Venice and one intuits that she has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the city and what makes it run. One can only hope for the sake of the Venetians that she is exaggerating for dramatic effect.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I really like the entire Commissario Brunetti series because I get to take a break from my normal life and read about fettucine truffle pasta. That said, this is my least favorite book so far. Without giving too much away, the plot of this book revolves around human trafficking and horrific sexual violence against women, which ruins the escapism for me. I just don't like reading books in which sexual violence is a major subplot or plot point, and I avoid them now if possible. However! The first h I really like the entire Commissario Brunetti series because I get to take a break from my normal life and read about fettucine truffle pasta. That said, this is my least favorite book so far. Without giving too much away, the plot of this book revolves around human trafficking and horrific sexual violence against women, which ruins the escapism for me. I just don't like reading books in which sexual violence is a major subplot or plot point, and I avoid them now if possible. However! The first half of this book had some pretty funny moments, and I highlighted a lot more in this installment. It features: - The aforementioned fettucine truffle pasta and a detailed description of the truffle being shaved onto said pasta - Paola describing American literature as "Puritans, cowboys, and strident women" - The very fashionable Signorina Elettra referring to her computer whiz friend as an 'acker' - Many equivalencies between lawyers and whores, mostly because they are notably difficult to obtain client lists from - Brunetti talking to his daughter, Chiara, about a contest to name a penguin at the Rome Zoo ("Spot"? come on Chiara) One thing that was missing in this book was Venice. It was much less of a character here, though this passage did make up for some of that: “We are a pessimistic people, aren’t we?” Brunetti asked. “We once had an empire. Now all we have,” she said, repeating the same gesture, again encompassing the Basilica, the campanile and, below it, Sansovinos Loggetta, “all we have is this Disneyland. I think that’s sufficient cause for pessimism.” Brunetti nodded but said nothing. She hadn’t persuaded him. The moments came rarely, but for him the city’s glory still lived. As I've said before, I appreciate the politicism that Donna Leon brings to her novels - she has some great lines in this one about the Italian tax system - but this particular subject is not one I personally enjoy reading. It may be time for me and my BFF Brunetti to take a break. But I'll be back!!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    A prominent Venetian lawyer is murdered on a train. The case is assigned to Commissario Brunetti. Soon a well-known person in Padua dies of a bullet-wound in his own car. Although the Padua police officially call it a suicide after altering official records, one detective there knows better, confiding in Brunetti. The brother-in-law of the Venetian lawyer who served as his accountant ends up dead too. Meanwhile the phone records of the Venetian and Paduan men points to a connection with bars whe A prominent Venetian lawyer is murdered on a train. The case is assigned to Commissario Brunetti. Soon a well-known person in Padua dies of a bullet-wound in his own car. Although the Padua police officially call it a suicide after altering official records, one detective there knows better, confiding in Brunetti. The brother-in-law of the Venetian lawyer who served as his accountant ends up dead too. Meanwhile the phone records of the Venetian and Paduan men points to a connection with bars where foreign prostitutes work. I'm a bit uncomfortable reading about prostitutes and sex crimes of the nature featured in this novel, but it does show the corruption in Italian law enforcement and government. We get to meet Guido's daughter more in this novel. She attends school with the lawyer's daughter and begins her own investigation and with unfortunate consequences. I listened to the audiobook read by David Colacci who did an excellent job. (3.5 stars)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric_W

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Commissario Brunetti, a regular readers of Rarebits, will remember, is the creation of Donna Leon. He's stubbornly honest in an Italian society that is portrayed as rife with criminal behavior, a country so overwhelmed by new laws that are enacted one day only to be repealed the next, that the distinction between what is wrong and what is criminal is often nebulous. Paula, Brunetti's professor of English spouse and delightfully moral character, issues stern reminders to Brunetti of the differenc Commissario Brunetti, a regular readers of Rarebits, will remember, is the creation of Donna Leon. He's stubbornly honest in an Italian society that is portrayed as rife with criminal behavior, a country so overwhelmed by new laws that are enacted one day only to be repealed the next, that the distinction between what is wrong and what is criminal is often nebulous. Paula, Brunetti's professor of English spouse and delightfully moral character, issues stern reminders to Brunetti of the difference and their conversations are priceless. Brunetti is a complex man who has an engaging wit, a rapiersharp mind, and strong love for his family. Constantly under pressure from his superiors to ignore crimes that involve the elite, in this case his metal is tested. A well-known lawyer, Carlo Trevisan, is discovered shot to death on the train from Padua to Venice. Initially written off as a robbery gone bad, Brunetti has his doubts and when an accountant from a respected firm is found dead, ostensibly of his own hand but with Trevisan's phone number in his book and substantial amounts of a barbiturate in his bloodstream, Brunetti's crap detector goes into overdrive. Soon the links to a bizarre truck accident in the mountains where many young women are found dead, crushed by a load of lumber, fall into place, and Brunetti discovers a large web of international prostitution involving highly influential citizens of Venice. As the investigation proceeds, Brunetti learns that more than prostitution is involved. He discovers that a series of tapes was being commissioned and sold by the dead men that had shown the rape and killing of women in Croatia by Serb soldiers. A pair of mislaid and forgotten expensive reading glasses leads Brunetti to a travel agent, a former prostitute who had been in league with the men in supplying girls from other countries. She was the murderer, she admits to Brunetti, disgusted by her colleagues enjoyment in watching the rapes and brutal murders of the women, not because of the deaths -- after all the women would have died eventually anyway. She reveals that other very important men were involved in the extremely profitable business and knows that she will be killed. Brunetti arrests her, insists she be guarded, but is horrified to learn the next morning that she had been taken to Padua by order of the Ministry of Justice and special branch police. How had they learned so quickly of the arrest when Brunetti had made ever effort to keep it secret? This is an outstanding novel. Leon, who has lived in Italy for many years (like Paula, a professor of English), provides a jaundiced view of daily Italian life where the only safe procedure for a patient in an Italian hospital is the autopsy, and train strikes are a regular occurrence, and corruption exists at every level of society. She clearly worries about the effects of corruption on the moral fiber of that society and what it does to its members

  8. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    DEATH AND JUDGMENT (aka A Venetian Reckoning) (Police Proc-Venice-Cont) – VG Leon, Donna – 4th in series Penguin, 1995 – Paperback *** Commissario Guido Brunetti’s newest case is the murder of a prominent international lawyer. As he investigates, a link is found between this murder and the murder of an accountant being investigated by a colleague in Padua. These two threads tie back to an winter accident with a truck going off an icy road resulting in the death of several woman without identificati DEATH AND JUDGMENT (aka A Venetian Reckoning) (Police Proc-Venice-Cont) – VG Leon, Donna – 4th in series Penguin, 1995 – Paperback *** Commissario Guido Brunetti’s newest case is the murder of a prominent international lawyer. As he investigates, a link is found between this murder and the murder of an accountant being investigated by a colleague in Padua. These two threads tie back to an winter accident with a truck going off an icy road resulting in the death of several woman without identification. *** This is a very well written story of corruption, power and greed. Brunetti is a wonderfully refreshing character; a loyal husband, caring father and respected policeman who loves his city. The humor, relationships and emotions, however, are realistic and not saccharine. The secondary characters are dimensional and interesting. Leon is a wonderful writer who brings Venice to life but doesn’t spare on its problems. Although I thought I knew where the story was going, I found myself surprised and the ending depressingly realistic. For those of us who read for character but like good plots as well, I highly recommend this book and series.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    This is my fourth book of her series and I think I need a break. I love Venice and that is why I first strated reading this but so far, it has just left me very depressed. The main character seems in the end, is always left with very little power and the bad guys just get away with everything. This particular one just left me too sad to continue reading the series for now. The saddest part of all is that there is truth in this fictional book and the atrocities towards women still continues and n This is my fourth book of her series and I think I need a break. I love Venice and that is why I first strated reading this but so far, it has just left me very depressed. The main character seems in the end, is always left with very little power and the bad guys just get away with everything. This particular one just left me too sad to continue reading the series for now. The saddest part of all is that there is truth in this fictional book and the atrocities towards women still continues and nothing is being done about it. Prostitution, snuff films...they would not continue to exist if there was no demand for it. There would be an uprising if there was a film about a black man being tortured and raped but there are none when its a woman. Why do we demand less for women?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Larraine

    I was nearly finished this book when I came to a scene that was so familiar that I wondered if I had actually read the book before and just forgot it. However, it turns out that I had seen this on the German made Brunetti series and realized how close that series really is to the books. This book, written in 1995, reflect the author's realistic embrace of Venice and Italy. Her books detail the famous corruption that goes to the highest reaches of government and industry. However, in my opinion, I was nearly finished this book when I came to a scene that was so familiar that I wondered if I had actually read the book before and just forgot it. However, it turns out that I had seen this on the German made Brunetti series and realized how close that series really is to the books. This book, written in 1995, reflect the author's realistic embrace of Venice and Italy. Her books detail the famous corruption that goes to the highest reaches of government and industry. However, in my opinion, the idea that Italy and other Mediterranean countries are especially corrupt is naive. This book talks about snuff movies and the sex trade, both of which are epidemic and, in my opinion, would be found in some surprising places right here in the USA. The book opens with a truck accident that results in bodies of women found on the side of the mountain where the truck tumbled down. The bill of lading in the truck stated there was lumber which there was. There also were women. When an important Venetian citizen is murdered, Brunetti is assigned to investigate & is cautioned by his slimy superior, Patta, not to make too many waves while he is doing it. then a business associate of the murdered man, an accountant from nearby Padua, is also murdered. Brunetti's daughter convinces her father to pay her to learn some things about the daughter of the murdered man which results in the daughter giving her a tape which turns out to be a horrific snuff film. That's when Brunetti realizes that there is far more to this case than he realized. Once again, there are no happy endings, but that's probably much more realistic.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have not read a book in the series in quite a while. I think this is probably one of the earliest books that I have read. It had a bit of a darker tone to it then later books. There wasn't as much food either, although there is still the environmental issues. I did miss the food, not going to lie. Having said that, I do like a police procedural, And I really enjoy Commasori Brunetti.this was definitely not an escape to Venice Book, it was a book about sex trafficking and crime solving that too I have not read a book in the series in quite a while. I think this is probably one of the earliest books that I have read. It had a bit of a darker tone to it then later books. There wasn't as much food either, although there is still the environmental issues. I did miss the food, not going to lie. Having said that, I do like a police procedural, And I really enjoy Commasori Brunetti.this was definitely not an escape to Venice Book, it was a book about sex trafficking and crime solving that took place in Venice.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Kondelik

    Death and Judgment is the fourth in Donna Leon’s popular mystery series set in Venice, featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. It begins with a truck crashing in the mountains of northern Italy near the Austrian border. The truck is carrying eight young women, who die in the crash. Then a prominent Venetian lawyer is shot to death on the train from Padua to Venice. Obviously, there is a connection between these two events, but we do not know what it is at first. Of course, Brunetti figures it out, Death and Judgment is the fourth in Donna Leon’s popular mystery series set in Venice, featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. It begins with a truck crashing in the mountains of northern Italy near the Austrian border. The truck is carrying eight young women, who die in the crash. Then a prominent Venetian lawyer is shot to death on the train from Padua to Venice. Obviously, there is a connection between these two events, but we do not know what it is at first. Of course, Brunetti figures it out, but not before two more deaths occur. An accountant from Padua dies in an apparent suicide, and the murdered lawyer’s brother-in-law is also shot. At first Brunetti suspects the lawyer’s new partner, a Sicilian with possible ties to the Mafia, because he inherits the firm and he is having an affair with the dead man’s wife. But Brunetti soon figures out that something else is going on. His investigation leads him to the dark, horrifying world of human trafficking, prostitution, and the pornographic film industry. Leon provides a sharp contrast between the grim world that Brunetti investigates and his loving family life with his wife Paola, a professor of English literature and gourmet cook, and his precocious teenage daughter Chiara. Many of the most compelling scenes in Death and Judgment are between Brunetti and Chiara. It turns out that Chiara knows the murdered lawyer’s daughter, Francesca, from school, so she decides to do some investigating on her own. She questions Francesca about who would have wanted to murder her father, as well as some classmates who know Francesca better than she does. Paola is not thrilled to have Chiara involved in the case, but Brunetti is proud of his daughter, who definitely shows signs of following in her father’s footsteps. As always, Leon draws you into the everyday life of Venice and makes you want to go there. We do not see much of Paola’s delicious meals this time, but there is a scene where characters eat a mouthwatering-sounding fettucine with truffles at a restaurant. In Leon’s novels, the villains do not always get what they deserve, because they have friends in high places. I am not going to give away whether or not that is the case in this one, though. The subject matter, of human trafficking and forced prostitution, is all too contemporary, even though this novel was written in 1995. I highly recommend this book, even though it might not be the best one with which to start the series. The first in the series is Death at La Fenice. Also, readers should be aware that some of Leon’s books have different titles in the British and American editions. Death and Judgment has the title A Venetian Reckoning in the British edition.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    A particularly sad, sordid and brutal journey for Commissario Guido Brunetti. One wonders how he (and Ms. Leon) manage to preserve their decency and dignity in the face of it. But perhaps that is part of what keeps us reading: hope in our hero-detective, who in preserving himself, helps us to preserve ourselves.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Chatman

    Another great one!

  15. 4 out of 5

    John McDonald

    This may be one of the more complex mysteries Leon has written, and once again, evidences her concerns for social justice, in this case, the scandalous worldwide trade in sex slaves. It also highlights her stinging and repeated rebukes of corruption among the elite of Italian society and many of its public officials who often protect the wealthy from criminal laws so long as they are being bribed or benefitted.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Lagow

    Death and Judgement[return]Donna Leon[return][return]4th in the Commisario Brunetti series set in Venice, Italy.[return][return]A prominent lawyer is murdered, executio-style, on the train coming home to Venice from Padova. In the midst of the ever-growing corruption scandals in the Italian government, a very successful accountant from Padova, connectedted with teh Ministry of Health, appears to have committed suicide; everyone assumes that this is in connection with the scandals involving the M Death and Judgement[return]Donna Leon[return][return]4th in the Commisario Brunetti series set in Venice, Italy.[return][return]A prominent lawyer is murdered, executio-style, on the train coming home to Venice from Padova. In the midst of the ever-growing corruption scandals in the Italian government, a very successful accountant from Padova, connectedted with teh Ministry of Health, appears to have committed suicide; everyone assumes that this is in connection with the scandals involving the Ministry but the Padova police have evidence that it was really murder. Finally the lawyer s brother-in-law is murdered. though Brunetti is convinced that all three deaths are related, but the only connection he has is a phone number of a sleazy bar in Mestre, a town just outside of Venice on the mainland.[return][return]Leon has described this book as her angriest, and it is easy to see why. She nearly always illuminates some social injustice or ugly facet of Italian or Venetian life in her books, and this one involves the world-wide trade in women for the purposes of prostitution. to go further would be to give away the plot; in itself, it s a very good police procedural, but leon uses the story to bring out truly horrifying facts about the extent of this slave trade. Yet, she is so skillful a writer that it never sounds preachy, but unfolds from Brunetti s investigation.[return][return]As is typical of Leon s books, her characterizations are the best part, especially true in this book of the one-timers. Brunetti and his family--especially his 14 year old daughter Chiara in this book--continue to deepen and therefore continue to engage the reader s interest in this very real (and very Italian) family. Leon s love for Venice, always shining out through Brunetti, is obvious, no matter how grim the political or social picture is; the city enchants.[return][return]Another excellent member of the series. Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    It's been almost two years since I read the 3rd installment of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series. On finishing that book, I wavered on continuing on with the series and ended my review that it was a "definite maybe." So I was true to that promise. The time span certainly suggests there was not a strong pull to continue on, but alas when I was looking (needing!) a quick knock-off read, Death and Judgment did pop to mind. While pretty formulaic from the get-go it was enjoyable enough, it was It's been almost two years since I read the 3rd installment of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series. On finishing that book, I wavered on continuing on with the series and ended my review that it was a "definite maybe." So I was true to that promise. The time span certainly suggests there was not a strong pull to continue on, but alas when I was looking (needing!) a quick knock-off read, Death and Judgment did pop to mind. While pretty formulaic from the get-go it was enjoyable enough, it was the diversion I was looking for, and I have always liked protagonist Guido. But before too long, my initial burst of enthusiasm flagged and things got a bit repetitive and I found myself not really caring about how the mystery was resolved. Much like Venice itself, it's all a bit too circuitous, wrong turns, etc. -- but then you turn an abrupt turn of a corner and you unexpectedly (and conveniently) arrive at the destination. My final quibble is that didn't seem to be nearly enough of Venice, which is a big appeal/selling point to read these books. I am likely being too hard on this book/series, but alas feel even more unlikely to continue on with the series than last time -- but never say never, the appeal of Venice is never to be underestimated, nor Commissario Brunetti.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Mustread

    Set in Venice, the Commissario Brunetti series focuses on Guido Brunetti, a veteran police detective, who finds himself in this book, trying to solve several similar murders which are not easily connected.  Brunetti's wife, Paola, and teenage daughter make cameo appearances.  Paola seems a strong-willed and opinionated woman, who I would like to see play a more major role in the series. The horrors of human trafficking, abusive sex practices and videos of murderous sex scenes don't make for pleas Set in Venice, the Commissario Brunetti series focuses on Guido Brunetti, a veteran police detective, who finds himself in this book, trying to solve several similar murders which are not easily connected.  Brunetti's wife, Paola, and teenage daughter make cameo appearances.  Paola seems a strong-willed and opinionated woman, who I would like to see play a more major role in the series. The horrors of human trafficking, abusive sex practices and videos of murderous sex scenes don't make for pleasant reading, but Leon manages to keep the reader focused on the horrors without being overly graphic. The ending is unsatisfactory, though cynically realistic, for both Brunetti and the reader.  Perhaps in future books in the series, the "bad guys" will get their due.  I read the previous three titles in this series in 2010-11, but hope to move on the next titles in the series in the near future. According to wikipedia there is a German television series based on the crime novels, which is also available to Spain and Finland.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    This was my first introduction to the world of Commissario Guido Brunetti and I'll want to visit it again and again. Donna Leon's uncluttered style manages to cover a lot of ground—the shifting layers of Venetian society, the Italian cynicism towards its government and officials, Brunetti's relationships with his co-workers and his family and a major crime to solve over many a cup of coffee or grappa with nary a gun in sight. Death and Judgement opens with a transport truck going off an alpine r This was my first introduction to the world of Commissario Guido Brunetti and I'll want to visit it again and again. Donna Leon's uncluttered style manages to cover a lot of ground—the shifting layers of Venetian society, the Italian cynicism towards its government and officials, Brunetti's relationships with his co-workers and his family and a major crime to solve over many a cup of coffee or grappa with nary a gun in sight. Death and Judgement opens with a transport truck going off an alpine road but some of its cargo are women being smuggled in from Romania. At first it's unclear how this tragic accident is connected to the deaths of two prominent and upstanding Venetian citizens but Brunetti ultimately finds the corrupt undercurrent linking the two. The pace of the investigation is steady but low key—Brunetti relies on restrained conversation instead of brute force. Whether it's jumping on a venetto to go to a crime scene or tucking into a late lunch prepared by his wife, Brunetti epitomizes Venice and it's special way of life. Reading Donna Leon is as good as a walk over the Rialto Bridge.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ElaineY

    REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; JANUARY 19, 2017 Narrator: David Colacci I've only listened to 3 Brunetti audiobooks but already I felt this one was repetitive - comments about homophobia and gays, whores, sexual enslavement of women...I got rather bored after a while and Guido's investigation into the murder mystery didn't interest me past the halfway mark. Much as I enjoy Collacci's narration (I skipped Book 2 because Anna Fields was narrating), I found my attention wandering several times and paused this a REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; JANUARY 19, 2017 Narrator: David Colacci I've only listened to 3 Brunetti audiobooks but already I felt this one was repetitive - comments about homophobia and gays, whores, sexual enslavement of women...I got rather bored after a while and Guido's investigation into the murder mystery didn't interest me past the halfway mark. Much as I enjoy Collacci's narration (I skipped Book 2 because Anna Fields was narrating), I found my attention wandering several times and paused this audio to listen to something else. Several times. I'm giving this 3 stars only because Guido is his usual pleasant self and I enjoy his interactions with his family. In this case, much more than the murder investigation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Writerlibrarian

    This is a dark, cynical tale of corruption, the madness of men and how men can become so alien from their human side that trading, exploiting, selling and killing humans, especially women, is a way of life and business as usual. The principal characters in Leon's Brunetti universe are set by this book. We have the usual gang : Elettra Zorzi has settled in at the police station, Vianello is the loyal second in command and Brunetti's family in this case Chiara helps out. A new player enters the fr This is a dark, cynical tale of corruption, the madness of men and how men can become so alien from their human side that trading, exploiting, selling and killing humans, especially women, is a way of life and business as usual. The principal characters in Leon's Brunetti universe are set by this book. We have the usual gang : Elettra Zorzi has settled in at the police station, Vianello is the loyal second in command and Brunetti's family in this case Chiara helps out. A new player enters the fray, Lt Scarpa, Brunetti's adversary that will become his nemesis. This was a solid plot if somewhat gruesome and cynical and still after 10 years relevant. The world doesn't change unfortunately.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Moulton

    Human sex trafficking is the subject of this book. In this case, it's the influx of women from former Soviet bloc countries who have been tricked and trapped into prostitution by criminals who treat them like cattle. Mixed in the Italian landscape are the "gentlemen from the South" who have infiltrated every criminal enterprise in Italy. The careful way in which they are regarded by the police and the average Italian speaks volumes about the Mafia's iron grip on Italian society. Corruption as a Human sex trafficking is the subject of this book. In this case, it's the influx of women from former Soviet bloc countries who have been tricked and trapped into prostitution by criminals who treat them like cattle. Mixed in the Italian landscape are the "gentlemen from the South" who have infiltrated every criminal enterprise in Italy. The careful way in which they are regarded by the police and the average Italian speaks volumes about the Mafia's iron grip on Italian society. Corruption as a way of life and the intricacy of how one interprets common conversation into its real meaning is revealing and disturbing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    My favorite of the Donna Leon books I've read so far (about six of them). The conversation between Guido and Paola in which they discuss the difference between what is criminal and what is wrong is wonderfully written. It tells so much about the laws in Venice, and about their relationship. The story itself is a good one, too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alan Korolenko

    Three murders create suspicion in Commisario Brunetti's mind that they are linked. His investigation leads to a prostitution ring and "snuff film" business. Leon has made a point in her previous books of showing the corruption and incompetence in the Italian authorities and this book drives home that point of view forcefully.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    Just couldn't get into this.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Fogle

    Like visiting old friends with just the right frequency. Leon maintains a very high standard , especially re her characters. No disappointments here.

  27. 4 out of 5

    annapi

    A truck runs off the road and crashes down a mountainside, revealing that among its cargo are several young women. Then a lawyer is murdered on a train. Then in Mestre there is a suicide that Brunetti's friend in the police department reveals is actually a murder. Now Brunetti realizes there's something big going on, his investigations take him into the world of human trafficking. This is the first of the series that I am not very happy with. My actual rating is 3.5, but I will round down. It's s A truck runs off the road and crashes down a mountainside, revealing that among its cargo are several young women. Then a lawyer is murdered on a train. Then in Mestre there is a suicide that Brunetti's friend in the police department reveals is actually a murder. Now Brunetti realizes there's something big going on, his investigations take him into the world of human trafficking. This is the first of the series that I am not very happy with. My actual rating is 3.5, but I will round down. It's still a good story, but is not resolved very well. I'm not the type who needs a mystery neatly resolved with a happy ending, so that's not what upset me about this - it was that in the end Brunetti does something that I felt was out of character, and therefore it allowed the ending to occur. When Brunetti's supercilious superior Patta chews him out for it, I'm almost on his side. I also did not like how abruptly it ended, how easily Brunetti finds the murderer. It was almost like the author felt the story was getting away from her and growing too big, and she quashed it quickly. I still like the series and will continue it, but will take a short break, after five books in a row.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    Commissario Guido Brunetti has been handed a new crime--the murder of a distinguished lawyer on a train. Within a week, a second murder occurs, that of an accountant associated with many wealthy clients. The high-profile crimes have tenuous connections, but who wanted the men dead? As Brunetti unravels the threads of these connections, he is led into the dark world of female trafficking and prostitution. But the darkness is worse than even Brunetti can imagine... and for the first time, the sordi Commissario Guido Brunetti has been handed a new crime--the murder of a distinguished lawyer on a train. Within a week, a second murder occurs, that of an accountant associated with many wealthy clients. The high-profile crimes have tenuous connections, but who wanted the men dead? As Brunetti unravels the threads of these connections, he is led into the dark world of female trafficking and prostitution. But the darkness is worse than even Brunetti can imagine... and for the first time, the sordidness of the policeman's work seeps into his personal life through his daughter, Chiara. It is Donna Leon's gift to be capable of creating a warm and familiar world of living, breathing characters in the Brunetti family, while simultaneously showcasing the corruption of the world they live in--the Italian government and its bureaucracies, and the small daily compromises everyone makes to ones morals and values. As with other volumes, you'll celebrate Brunetti's dedication, and bemoan the unsatisfactory outcome of his efforts. A rich series, but not one for people seeking lighthearted stories.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue Katoll

    Death, yes. Judgment? Leon continues to write so well that the story seems to flow spontaneously from some cosmic source of all stories. I gave the book the rating not because it was fun to read, but because it deals fairly with gritty, ugly reality. It romanticizes nothing. It does not preach. There is an element of journalism here. She quotes facts and numbers of the sex trade, but always as Brunetti's doing his job and doing it well. (With help from Signorina Elettra and friends.) The thing t Death, yes. Judgment? Leon continues to write so well that the story seems to flow spontaneously from some cosmic source of all stories. I gave the book the rating not because it was fun to read, but because it deals fairly with gritty, ugly reality. It romanticizes nothing. It does not preach. There is an element of journalism here. She quotes facts and numbers of the sex trade, but always as Brunetti's doing his job and doing it well. (With help from Signorina Elettra and friends.) The thing that sets Leon as an author and the series apart from average fiction is her characters and their ways of living with the results of an increasingly corrupt and inhumane society. I questioned the use of "Judgment" in the title because characters never encounter the judicial branch . In this book, judgment is handed down surely, swiftly, and fatally. It is the concept of justice that is questionable here. As in life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Investigating the murder of a lawyer in a train carriage, Brunetti begins to uncover links to an international crime network, and to a lorry crash in the mountains which revealed a shocking cargo. Not my favourite Brunetti novel. Donna Leon is always skilled at revealing different aspects of corruption and criminal activity in Italian society, and she does a good job here with showing how the wealthy can act without fear of consequences while the poor and vulnerable are defenceless. However, the Investigating the murder of a lawyer in a train carriage, Brunetti begins to uncover links to an international crime network, and to a lorry crash in the mountains which revealed a shocking cargo. Not my favourite Brunetti novel. Donna Leon is always skilled at revealing different aspects of corruption and criminal activity in Italian society, and she does a good job here with showing how the wealthy can act without fear of consequences while the poor and vulnerable are defenceless. However, the murder plot is quite weak and didn't really engage my interest at all. Usually the glimpses of Brunetti's private life with his family are a joy and counteract his tendency to cynicism and weariness, but in this novel the case he is investigating intrudes on his family life in quite a disturbing way and this gives the story a very downbeat atmosphere throughout. It was OK, but a bit flat overall.

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