Drawing Conclusions (Guido Brunetti Series #20)

Drawing Conclusions (Guido Brunetti Series #20)

by Donna Leon


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143120643
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/27/2012
Series: Guido Brunetti Series , #20
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 313,298
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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).


Venice, Italy

Date of Birth:

February 28, 1942

Place of Birth:

Montclair, New Jersey


B.A., 1964; M.A. 1969; postgraduate work in English literature

What People are Saying About This

Marilyn Stasio

“Donna Leon’s 20th Venetian mystery featuring her compassionate police detective, Commissario Guido Brunetti, epitomizes what we treasure most about this series: a feeling for the life of a sublimely beautiful city and a sensitivity to the forces that are reshaping it. Not to mention the pleasure of being in Brunetti’s company when this shrewd but scrupulously honest man is having a crisis of ethics at the flower market or trying to pry information from a hostile nun.”

Tom Nolan

“By now, with the arrival of Donna Leon’s 20th Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, the Venetian police commissioner seems almost as much an institution as the city’s venerable buildings. … In an age of diminished civic and religious authority, the commissario—as his investigation proceeds—must make Jesuitical decisions of his own about guilt and innocence, punishment and absolution. In this finely written account, he comes down (as we know he will) on the side of the angels.”

Bill Ott

“Leon’s twentieth novel starring Venetian police Commissario Guido Brunetti is one of her best.  … When [Brunetti] muses, the reader listens almost hypnotically, transfixed by the somehow ennobling ordinariness of this remarkable man’s humanity but also by the subtlety of his mind and his absolute refusal to succumb to the tyranny of bureaucrats and moralists.  … Leon’s popularity among mystery fans has grown steadily, but over the last several years, she has become a must-read for all those who favor character-driven crime stories.”

Merle Minda

“There is always doubt mixed with anticipation before diving into the latest in a favorite mystery series. The uncertainty is always there — will it deliver the same fascination as previous books? Or will it disappoint? … The compelling characters and complex plot in Leon's Drawing Conclusions place it among her best. The atmosphere of the city, along with Leon's sharp insights and powerful narrative, validate her often-recognized status as a master of literary crime fiction.”

Lynne F. Maxwell

“This fine novel is Leon’s 20th mystery featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, the unparalleled Venetian police investigator who enlivens this intelligent series. … As always, Brunetti’s investigative acumen, his patience, and most of all, his profound comprehension of the human psyche enable him to bring the case to a closure of sorts. Yet the powerful conclusions does not, in fact, directly divulge the solution, and it is this haunting ambiguity that renders Drawing Conclusions Leon’s most provocative novel to date.  … VERDICT: Aficionados of literary mysteries such as those written by P.D. James and Michael Dibdin will revel in this stellar book. If you read only one mystery this year, make it this one.”

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Drawing Conclusions 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
takingadayoff More than 1 year ago
After the disappointing A Question of Belief and About Face, I had resolved to quit reading Donna Leon's new books and go back to her excellent first mysteries. The way she combined social issues with fast-paced detective work in the early books was irresistible. My favorite was her first -- Death at La Fenice. Then her books started to emphasize the social issues more than the mysteries until in the last few books the murders seemed to take a back seat. I stopped reading about halfway through A Question of Belief when there had been no apparent crime yet. In Drawing Conclusions, there is a dead body very quickly and when Brunetti takes the call, he suspects that it may not have been an accidental death. There are clues and suspicious characters in abundance and the story moves briskly in police procedural fashion. Along with Brunetti, we consider the evidence, imagine possible scenarios, weigh motives and opportunities. And don't worry, Leon hasn't lost her social conscience - elder care and domestic violence play prominent roles in the story. With help from Signorina Ellettra and despite the usual obstructions from his superior, Vice-Questore Patta, Brunetti comes to a conclusion that is somewhat unorthodox by traditional mystery standards, but completely satisfying. Welcome back, Donna Leon!
Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
Book 20, in the Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery As usual Ms. Leon's social concerns always play a prominent component of her mysteries; in her latest tale she looks into how a civilized society treats abused women and the elderly. The catchy setting is the romantic waterways of Venice with the loveable and caring Commissario Brunetti at the helm. The story opens with the death of sexagenarian, Widow Costanza Altavilla, from what appears to be a fatal heart attack in her apartment in Santa Croce. The medical examiner concludes, no foul play, death by natural causes. Brunetti's experience and instincts lead him in a completely different direction, why would an elderly woman living alone have clothing of different sizes and style not fitting her stature? Digging deeper he uncovers the fact she was running a clandestine safe house for women seeking shelter from domestic abuse, perhaps her death is the result of an encounter with a violent partner of one of these women. Eventually the enquiry brings him to a senior citizens home and to a gallery of a questionable art dealer..and with the help of Inspector Lorenzo Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra Zorzi, the truth surfaces and justice prevails. As we expect from Ms. Leon, the novel is beautifully written, narrated with elegance and sly humour. Set against a backdrop of police indifference and corruption we see another side of Brunetti, distressed and having contradictory feeling towards the casual attitude of his fellow Venetians. The story is well-paced and moves very quickly with some unexpected twists to keep us guessing till the end, a never ending game of speculation trying to guess what really happened to Signora Altavilla. As always, the domestic interludes play a vital part of Donna Leon's novels, this one is no exception. She has seasoned her story with moments that reflect her protagonist's compassion, principles and the love for the simple pleasures of life. "Drawing Conclusions" is an interesting and captivating addition to the series I enjoyed thoroughly.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Venetian medical examiner Dr. Rizzardi concludes that sexagenarian Widow Costanza Altavilla died from a heart attack in her apartment in Santa Croce. Although he has no justification to investigate the death as Rizzardi is a diligent professional, Commissario Guido Brunetti feels something is not quite right. Thus he looks around the home and finds unexplained different sizes of female attire. After consulting with Signorina Elettra, Brunetti knows the late woman ran a safe house for women fleeing from domestic abuse. The cop ponders if perhaps one of these violent men assaulted Altavilla in her home; causing the sixtyish woman to suffer the deadly heart failure. He soon follows a clue that leads to a senior citizen home, where the deceased volunteered her services as Brunetti begins to ponder whether the motive is avarice instead of violence or perhaps both. The latest Commissario Guido Brunetti Italian police procedural (see A Question of Belief) is a great tale that looks closely at how a civilized society treats abused women and the elderly; the results are not very compassionate. A key element in this terrific investigation is that Rizzardi is respected as a pro, which Brunetti believes too; but his experience and his gut tell him otherwise. Readers will relish sailing the watery streets of Venice with the caring Commissario who understands justice and the law is not always in synch. Harriet Klausner
angelika jones More than 1 year ago
I loved the first several Brunetti books . But then they changed more to social issues books this one is not like that anymore. But it is somber and somewhat deorrssing. I miss the good old Brunetti books . They gave a glimpse into Italian and tge Brunetti's lifestyle. They were fun to read. This one isn't.
Lynie More than 1 year ago
Commissario Guido Brunetti has been called to the apartment of Costanza Altavilla, a widow whose neighbor found her dead in her apartment. The medical examiner has ruled that a heart attack was the cause of death, but there are marks on Signora Altavilla's body that suggest something worse. Although it's not an authorized investigation, Brunetti cannot rest until he finds out if there was foul play. After questioning Altavilla's neighbors and son, Brunetti discovers that Signora Altavilla has been providing shelter to battered women, as well as visiting people in a nursing home. Brunetti and Inspector Vianello are further assisted in their investigation by Signorina Elettra, the assistant to Guido's superior, Vice-Questore Patta. Ms. Leon gives the reader a glimpse of Italian life and the political system through the eyes of her protagonist. Brunetti is a happy, complex man, despite his struggles with his superior and his conscience when accepting information gleaned illegally by the ever resourceful Signorina Elettra. Buoyed by his love for his family and the City of Venice, Ms. Leon brilliantly paints Brunetti with a cynical brush while maintaining his humanity and love of beauty. Intelligent and insightful, DRAWING CONCLUSIONS is another wonderful book in the Brunetti series. Lynn Kimmerle
gsisson on LibraryThing 28 days ago
I would give this book, along with her others, a rating of six if it were available. Wonderful characterization, plot, and a great view of the governmental running of Italy.
maureen61 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
despite its slow start, this quietly reflective story causes you to think about a version of right and wrong that is very gray. Our moral, ethical perspecitve is challenged when a woman is found dead of an apparant heart attack but Commissario Brunetti cannot let the feeling go that something is awry. A goodd read that leaves one to ponder that what is ethical may not be legal and what is leagal may not be moral.
dianaleez on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Donna Leon is back with 'Drawing Conclusions.' Brunetti and the usual suspects (Patta, Scarpa, et al) are faced with the death of an aged widow - natural causes - but perhaps as Brunetti fears, her heart attack was the result of an attack by an unknown assailant. As usual Leon presents social/moral issues that besiege not only Italy but the world at large, but all here is secondary to her fascinating characterizations. The mystery/detective element is, again as usual for Leon, secondary to her telling social portrait of a world drowning in bureaucracy and violence, but it is again saved by the humanity and 'niceness' of Guido Brunetti and all that he represents.
Queensowntalia on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Leon's latest Guido Brunetti mystery tells the story of an elderly woman found dead in her apartment, seemingly from a heart attack. But was there more to the story?A complex plot unfolds in the quiet manner fans of the series have come to enjoy. Interspersed with scenes from Brunetti's tranquil home life, the story slowly develops, adding layer after layer, finally coming to a somewhat surprising, but satisfying and bittersweet conclusion.Overall a good read, though a bit draggy in parts. Fans and newcomers alike should enjoy it.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Commissario Guido Brunetti is probably my all-time favorite policeman. * He lives in Venice. * He's still madly in love with his wife of over 20 years. * His wife is a gorgeous, rich, educated, independent college professor who fixes him incredible homemade lunches everyday. * He doesn't drive a car - he walks or takes the vaporetto (the Venetian water equivalent of a bus!) * He has two typical teenage children he has trouble understanding. * He hates modernity, cardboard sandwiches, and crowds. * He reads Cicero, Tacitus and the Greeks in their original languages. * He knows his way around the fine wine world, and often leaves the office to mull over problems at the corner bar. * He has a jerk for a boss, and a megalomaniac working for him. * He knows when to turn a blind eye to irregularities in process. * He has a law degree but chooses to be a policeman. * He often leaves his gun locked in his closet at home. * He often forgets to carry his telefonino. * He takes his wife flowers - often. * He has a compassionate, caring, and intelligent manner towards those he works with-including victims, witnesses and even some accused. * He's not afraid to trust his gut instincts.I mean really, what's not to like? In this latest (#20) of her police procedural mystery series, Donna Leon leads us gradually along as Brunetti is faced with trying to decide whether the unexpected death of a old lady ruled death by heart attack, was actually helped along by some outside violence. As he slowly works his way through the stories of those involved, we are again taken into the darker sides of life in the fabled city, into the culture of wife beating, political corruption, police indifference, and officials 'looking the other way' as money, information, and goods are exchanged for favors. Brunetti's incredible ability to be quiet and listen allows each participant in the event to tell his or her story and give us clues as to what really happened. The ending is vintage Brunetti and will not disappoint.This one is Leon at her best, it is Brunetti at his most human and his most vulnerable, and it is definitely Signorina Elletra's star performance to date. For those of you who are fans of this series, you have a treat in store. For those of you who have not had a chance to sample, these are so well-written that each can stand alone, so what are you waiting for?
Eyejaybee on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Not up to the standard of its predecessors - I wonder if Donna Leon might be running out of steam with this series.
ebyrne41 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Considering how much I have enjoyed so many of her books, and how much I had looked forward to this her latest, I feel a little let down now having read it. The storyline is a bit weak, I would have hoped for more of his home life, the kids Raffi and Chiara do not feature at all, while Paolo his wife, and her cooking, usually so integral, feature so very little. I get the feeling Leon is growing a little tired of the series, I so hope I am wrong.
AnonMI More than 1 year ago
It is impossible to read one of Leon's mysteries with her good inspector without also commenting on the interplay between him and his wife, Paola. Her observations and comments about various institutions in Italy are sometimes very pithy and her love of Henry James has sent me to re-reading his works. I look forward to her part in these mysteries almost as much as I look forward to finding out how the mystery will end. I've read almost all of her series, and can truthfully say that I've never been disappointed nor have I failed to learn something or to see a situation in a different light.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Donna Leon is one of a kind. Her books are like a visit to Venice and getting to look behind closed doors. Love her Guido Brunetti series--seems very authentic, and I'm always ready for a return trip
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Red1948jas More than 1 year ago
Love these books. Will continue to read them until she quits writing them.
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Mergatroy More than 1 year ago
So good to have Guido back and be guided though the most beautiful city Venenzia.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent as always - Guido Brunetti is a most believable character, interesting views of Venice and an equally excellent supporting cast.
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