By Its Cover is the much anticipated twenty-third instalment in Donna Leon's bestselling crime series, where Commissario Brunetti is better than ever as he addresses questions of worth and value alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra.
When several valuable antiquarian books go missing from a prestigious library in the heart of Venice, Commissario Brunetti is immediately called to the scene. The staff suspect an American researcher has stolen them, but for Brunetti something doesn’t quite add up. Taking on the case, the Commissario begins to seek information about some of the library’s regulars, such as the ex-priest Franchini, a passionate reader of ancient Christian literature, and Contessa Morosini-Albani, the library's chief donor, and comes to the conclusion that the thief could not have acted alone.
However, when Franchini is found murdered in his home, the case takes a more sinister turn and soon Brunetti finds himself submerged in the dark secrets of the black market of antiquarian books. Alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra, he delves into the pages of Franchini’s past and into the mind of a book thief in order to uncover the terrible truth.
©2014 Donna Leon and Diogenes Verlag AG, Zurich (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks
A reader from my youth in several languages, to have now discovered Audible is more than a bonus.
Once again, the story-line is intelligently and uniquely conceived and developed; once again, the City opens her secrets to the reader; once again, the characters are drawn with a finesse and an insight that is totally engaging. One doesn't tire of the canals and the calles, the rivas and the rios. And the ever-recurring characters reappear and play their parts to our delight. Absent from this novel - as against some of her other works - are those who are simply mouth-pieces for the author's own biases or predelictions.
"Beautifully Crafted Work"
Unfortunately I have not read the print version. This will very soon be rectified when my post arrives.
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel is a book I have long enjoyed for its beautiful use of language to convey the reader to a place of enchantment, in this case his library. Donna's book is likewise beautifully crafted and her descriptions of Venice and the characters captivating. This is authorship of the highest calibre.
Davids voice and the cadence with which he reads the story makes this reading of By Its Cover a delight to listen to. Consequently I have sought out other performances of the reader.
Brunetti, the main character is believable and well positioned as the central character of the story. Everything is logical and well presented and one cannot help but respect the thought that has gone into creating his character.
I am now a devotee of Donna Leon's work. One day I may be fortunate enough to have a signed copy of her work to be proudly displayed in my library. Such is the esteem in which I hold this author's work. I would recommend this book to all readers who seek a quality read.
David Rintoul is the best narrator ...of any genre & any authors work. This story is a typically enjoyable Brunetti outing. Well written with thoughtful content & language.
Always a gentle approach to an investigation without the need for spurious "action" type sequences.
"Lack-lustre compared with her earlier novels"
I’ve read/listened to all the Brunetti series of novels (this is the 23rd) and have enjoyed following his life and career. For me the detective element in these novels is subsidiary to the strong characterisation, the atmosphere of Venice and the cynicism over Italian bureaucracy. In this book the author seems to be just going through the motions of creating another book in the series. The story plods on and has little of the humour of previous books provided by the relationships between Brunetti and his boss Patta or the clandestine computer hacking skills of the secretary Signorina Electra. I missed the descriptions of the lovely meals prepared by Brunetti’s wife, Paula and the sparky dinnertime conversations with his wife and teenage children.
Thefts of pages from rare books is the main theme which is interesting but not enough to make for a completely satisfying listen. The solution to the crime is abruptly revealed at the end.
David Rintoul is, as usual, an excellent narrator.
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