The Girl of His Dreams (Guido Brunetti Series #17)

The Girl of His Dreams (Guido Brunetti Series #17)

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by Donna Leon
     
 

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Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries have won legions of fans for their evocative portraits of Venetian life. In her novels, food, family, art, history, and local politics play as central a role as an unsolved crime. In The Girl of His Dreams when a friend of Brunetti’s brother, a priest recently returned from years of

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Overview

Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries have won legions of fans for their evocative portraits of Venetian life. In her novels, food, family, art, history, and local politics play as central a role as an unsolved crime. In The Girl of His Dreams when a friend of Brunetti’s brother, a priest recently returned from years of missionary work, calls with a request, Brunetti suspects the man’s motives. A new, American-style Protestant sect has begun to meet in the city, and it’s possible the priest is merely apprehensive of the competition. But the preacher could also be fleecing his growing flock, so Brunetti and Paola, along with Inspector Vianello and his wife, go undercover.

But the investigation has to be put aside when, one cold and rainy morning, a body is found floating in a canal. It is a child, a gypsy girl. Brunetti suspects she fell off a nearby roof while fleeing an apartment she had robbed. He has to inform the distrustful parents, encamped on the mainland, and soon finds himself haunted by the crime--and the girl. Thought-provoking, eye-opening, and profoundly moving, The Girl of His Dreams is classic Donna Leon, a spectacular, heart-wrenching addition to the series.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" Gorgeously written . . . the seventeenth book in this superlative series restates Leon's themes with more intensity than usual."
-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
Dennis Drabelle
Free of coincidence or obvious contrivance, The Girl of His Dreams is a showcase of nuanced characterization, acute observation and seamless plotting.
—The Washington Post
Marilyn Stasio
Official justice being arbitrary in Donna Leon's gorgeously written but deeply melancholic Venetian police procedurals, the task of her detective, Commissario Guido Brunetti, isn't so much to solve a crime as to find a way of bearing the pain and horror of it. The Girl of His Dreams, the 17th book in this superlative series, restates Leon's theme with more intensity than usual
—The New York Times
Library Journal

Political reality prevails over justice, and a child's death goes unpunished despite the best efforts of Commissario Guido Brunetti in Leon's 17th Venetian mystery. When 11-year-old Ariana Rocich drowns in a canal and goes unidentified for days, she begins to haunt Brunetti's dreams. But Ariana is a Rom, or gypsy, found with stolen jewelry items secreted in and on her person, a discovery that makes Brunetti's investigation particularly sensitive in the face of new departmental directives regarding multicultural issues. The book opens with the funeral of Brunetti's mother before segueing into a subplot about a religious charlatan; so religion, as well as politics, becomes a topic around the family table for Brunetti, wife Paola, daughter Chiara, and son Raffi. A devoted family man, Brunetti is deeply principled if not overtly religious: his character and moral compass in the face of bureaucracy evoke as much interest as the crimes he sets out to solve. American-born Leon describes her longtime home of Venice lovingly, and the ethical grounding she gives this novel lifts it above the norm. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ1/08.]


—Michele Leber
Kirkus Reviews
Commissario Guido Brunetti, of the Venetian Questura, pursues a pair of very different cases to equally inconclusive ends. At the gravesite following the funeral of his mother, Guido Brunetti meets Padre Antonin Scallon, a schoolfriend of Brunetti's brother who has been doing missionary work in Africa. Brunetti has never liked Scallon, so he's surprised when the priest asks his help in getting information about Brother Leonardo Mutti, leader of the Children of Jesus Christ. Agreeing to investigate Mutti, Brunetti (Suffer the Little Children, 2007, etc.) ends up spending considerably more time investigating Scallon himself before he's abruptly pulled away from his inquiries by an ugly discovery. A Romany girl is found drowned in the Grand Canal with two pieces of readily identifiable jewelry that didn't belong to her. Because of a lack of cooperation, the mystery of the girl's death looks even more impenetrable than Brunetti's investigation of the two rival preachers. The investigations are linked only by the establishment's hatred and fear of interlopers who threaten its control. By no means a model of plot construction, but as heartfelt and moving as Brunetti's best.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143115618
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/07/2009
Series:
Guido Brunetti Series, #17
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
312,686
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
" Gorgeously written . . . the seventeenth book in this superlative series restates Leon's themes with more intensity than usual."
-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

Meet the Author

A New Yorker of Irish/Spanish descent, Donna Leon first went to Italy in 1965, returning regularly over the next decade or so while pursuing a career as an academic in the States and then later in Iran, China and finally Saudi Arabia. It was after a period in Saudi Arabia, which she found ‘damaging physically and spiritually’ that Donna decided to move to Venice, where she has now lived for over twenty years.

Her debut as a crime fiction writer began as a joke: talking in a dressing room in Venice’s opera-house La Fenice after a performance, Donna and a singer friend were vilifying a particular German conductor. From the thought ‘why don’t we kill him?’ and discussion of when, where and how, the idea for Death at La Fenice took shape, and was completed over the next four months.

Donna Leon is the crime reviewer for the London Sunday Times and is an opera expert. She has written the libretto for a comic opera, entitled Dona Gallina. Set in a chicken coop, and making use of existing baroque music, Donna Gallina was premiered in Innsbruck. Brigitte Fassbaender, one of the great mezzo-sopranos of our time, and now head of the Landestheater in Innsbruck, agreed to come out of retirement both to direct the opera and to play the part of the witch Azuneris (whose name combines the names of the two great Verdi villainesses Azucena and Amneris).

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Brief Biography

Hometown:
Venice, Italy
Date of Birth:
February 28, 1942
Place of Birth:
Montclair, New Jersey
Education:
B.A., 1964; M.A. 1969; postgraduate work in English literature

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The Girl of His Dreams (Guido Brunetti Series #17) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
schenectadyfan More than 1 year ago
True to the series, this one has a little exrea touch and interest because of the topic and the sensitive way the author treats it. The Roms in Italy are not much different than the latin immigrants found in this country. Donna Leon continues to demonstrate her talent for good narrative, character enhancement and vivd descriptions of her beloved Venice.
NY-Guam-Girl More than 1 year ago
I love reading Ms. Leon's mystery books. Her books have a nice balance between murder-mystery plot, scenery of Venice, and a pleasant family and work life of Brunetti. I find myself absorbed in another world - in Venice - as I picture the cafes, streets, and buildings Ms. Leon describes in her books. I would love to see the Brunetti series turn into a PBS TV mini-series. That would fit right in with PBS's Mystery Theatre TV shows - and it would be a refreshing change! Thank you for allowing me to escape to another world - bringing back memories of my childhood when I visited Venice with my family and later when I went there while studying abroad during my college days! I never experienced a murder-mystery there in real life, but I am enjoying reading about them in Ms. Leon's books. They are not too heavy with violence and gore. It's very pleasant reading. Please continue to write...I appreciate your creativity and characters.
highway99 More than 1 year ago
I usually like Donna Leon's books. This one had a very unsettling ending. She let me down by not getting justice.
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I wouldn't call it compelling, but it did keep me coming back.
xyz47 More than 1 year ago
Another good one in the series. Interesting read. Enjoy the whole series.
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JulianNM More than 1 year ago
This was my first Donna Leon book and despite the smattering of anti-American comments it was quite interesting and very well written. It had a softness about it which I found intriguing for a murder mystery. The ending was a nice realistic surprise.
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22cool More than 1 year ago
Having visited Venice, I love the environment and atmosphere of these novels. Always fun to read with real life characters.
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