Customer Reviews for

Beastly Things (Guido Brunetti Series #21)

Average Rating 3.5
( 22 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Best Guido Brunetti book yet

All of Ms. Leon's Venetian stories bring back only wonderful memories of Venice. This one tops the others with the a great murder mystery involving greed and power. Must read.

posted by 11651584 on April 20, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Venetian detective Guido Brunetti is faced with a baffling case


Venetian detective Guido Brunetti is faced with a baffling case when a man with no identifying papers is found in the water but, with his usual cleverness and doggedness, he follows the few clues he has to put a name to the body. That turns out to be the easy part of s...

Venetian detective Guido Brunetti is faced with a baffling case when a man with no identifying papers is found in the water but, with his usual cleverness and doggedness, he follows the few clues he has to put a name to the body. That turns out to be the easy part of solving this particular crime and finding out why he was murdered will lead to a far more extensive and alarming ongoing crime, one Brunetti may not be able to stop.

Beastly Things has some positive things going for it, primarily being able to spend more time with our beloved Commissario Guido Brunetti, his family and his colleagues Signorina Elettra and Inspector Lorenzo Vianello, but it ranks as one of my least favorite books in the series. It seems much shorter than previous titles with short chapters and a lot of white space and I was disturbed by the attention devoted to a topic that’s related to the mystery but given more importance.

I’ve been a big fan of Brunetti for years but this entry in the series has left me unsatisfied and a bit disturbed. Ms. Leon is known for addressing social issues of all kinds within the storylines but, this time, I felt the crime solving and the always-enjoyable family scenes were overshadowed by the agenda du jour, telling the reader what horrible things happen in the meat industry and, essentially, that we should all become vegetarians. I realize the books are set in Italy and that standards for treatment of the animals may not be the same as in the US but, all in all, I felt as though PETA’s objectives were the reason for this particular book. Yes, I’m a meat-eater and, yes, I know animals have to be killed for me to have that meat but the expose drawn by the author is too much. Chapter 19 should have a warning to the unsuspecting reader as it’s completely over the top and I almost stopped reading the book because of it. Also, when the reader is not being bombarded with this particular crusade, political corruption seems to be the fall-back position. The two themes become tiresome, topics to be endured in order to get back to the mystery that is meant to be the central story.

In the end, and I mean the end of the book, the magic that is the author’s writing talent returns with her description of the murder victim’s funeral service and she had me in tears as she so often does. Will I read the next book in the series? Yes, because Ms. Leon is such a gifted writer and the crime-solving is always good. I just hope that, in the future, the author will take a less-determined approach to saving the world and devote more time and energy to Brunetti and his activities.

posted by BuriedUnderBooks on June 26, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    Best Guido Brunetti book yet

    All of Ms. Leon's Venetian stories bring back only wonderful memories of Venice. This one tops the others with the a great murder mystery involving greed and power. Must read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 24, 2013

    I was repulsed by the descriptions of the poor animals and what

    I was repulsed by the descriptions of the poor animals and what they did to them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Venetian Tragedy

    There usually are three common elements in any Guido Brunetti mystery: The City of Venice plays a central role. Then there is the crime for the Commissario to solve. And, lastly, there is a significant social issue running through the novel. This, the 21st novel in the series, is no exception. A man is fished out of a Venetian canal, having been stabbed in the back. Brunetti sets off to find the murderer, and witnesses corruption on a massive scale among public officials and private business.

    Looking at the retrieved body, Brunetti has the feeling that he has seen the man before, recognizing his odd shape. Later, learning the man suffered from a rare disease causing his upper torso to enlarge, the Commissario remembers where he saw the victim, enabling him to identify the man. From this point, the novel essentially becomes a straightforward police procedural.

    Sprinkled throughout the story are Brunetti’s observations and philosophical musings, giving the book a certain flavor and embellishing his personality. Unlike previous entries in the series, however, it lacks the usual deep look into his taste for food and his wife’s ability to provide haute cuisine to a family of four (including recipes at the back of the book). It’s unfortunate because such information really spices up the novels. However, any Brunetti mystery is well worth reading, and is recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Venetian detective Guido Brunetti is faced with a baffling case


    Venetian detective Guido Brunetti is faced with a baffling case when a man with no identifying papers is found in the water but, with his usual cleverness and doggedness, he follows the few clues he has to put a name to the body. That turns out to be the easy part of solving this particular crime and finding out why he was murdered will lead to a far more extensive and alarming ongoing crime, one Brunetti may not be able to stop.

    Beastly Things has some positive things going for it, primarily being able to spend more time with our beloved Commissario Guido Brunetti, his family and his colleagues Signorina Elettra and Inspector Lorenzo Vianello, but it ranks as one of my least favorite books in the series. It seems much shorter than previous titles with short chapters and a lot of white space and I was disturbed by the attention devoted to a topic that’s related to the mystery but given more importance.

    I’ve been a big fan of Brunetti for years but this entry in the series has left me unsatisfied and a bit disturbed. Ms. Leon is known for addressing social issues of all kinds within the storylines but, this time, I felt the crime solving and the always-enjoyable family scenes were overshadowed by the agenda du jour, telling the reader what horrible things happen in the meat industry and, essentially, that we should all become vegetarians. I realize the books are set in Italy and that standards for treatment of the animals may not be the same as in the US but, all in all, I felt as though PETA’s objectives were the reason for this particular book. Yes, I’m a meat-eater and, yes, I know animals have to be killed for me to have that meat but the expose drawn by the author is too much. Chapter 19 should have a warning to the unsuspecting reader as it’s completely over the top and I almost stopped reading the book because of it. Also, when the reader is not being bombarded with this particular crusade, political corruption seems to be the fall-back position. The two themes become tiresome, topics to be endured in order to get back to the mystery that is meant to be the central story.

    In the end, and I mean the end of the book, the magic that is the author’s writing talent returns with her description of the murder victim’s funeral service and she had me in tears as she so often does. Will I read the next book in the series? Yes, because Ms. Leon is such a gifted writer and the crime-solving is always good. I just hope that, in the future, the author will take a less-determined approach to saving the world and devote more time and energy to Brunetti and his activities.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2012

    beyond great!

    Book #21 is Donna Leon's best! I keep saying that each time I read one of her Brunetti books, but I'm serious, this is the best. The 'cast of characters' never disappoints, and I'd have to say it's become another family for me. Suggestion: start with Book #1 (Death at La Fenice) and go forward. You will love every reading second!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 2, 2012

    Didn't like it as much as the other books in the series. Ms. Leo

    Didn't like it as much as the other books in the series. Ms. Leon's causes are always evident but this book went too far. Knowing what was go to happen in Chapter 19, i skipped most of it. I want to eat the occasional meatball or steak......Not enough of Guido's home life. Still I'm looking forward to her new book that has a new character.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    only okay

    I love Guido Brunetti stories and have read them all. This one was one of my least favorites and it sounded like one I have read before. I don't see any reference to it being published prior to this. The story was really one dimensional, the saving grace were the times he was with family or those to whom he is "close" at work and his love of Venice. Maybe Ms. Leon is running out of ideas for crime in "crimeless" Venice. Maybe I will get it from the Library next time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    Donna Leon does it again.

    Another great Guido Brunetti story. Leon is one of my favorite writers. Her stories keep you guessing.

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  • Posted May 3, 2012

    okay

    Short. Some editorializing. Authors now are using their books to advance their causes. They should be charged an advertising fee.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A new Donna Leon novel is something to anticipate, and finally h

    A new Donna Leon novel is something to anticipate, and finally having it to read means that one can take mini-trip to Venice and all of the pleasant things that entails. Beastly Things allows us that, and it also provides a very joyous funeral for a murder victim. But the rest of the tale is a modest one, not up to the previous novels in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Recommend

    This is another great read by Donna Leon...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 21, 2013

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