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Blood From A Stone

On a cold Venetian night shortly before Christmas, a man is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses to the event are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares before his death - fake handbags of every designer label. Officially termed a venditore ambulante or extracomunitario, the dead man was working as a vu cumpra, one of the many Black Africans purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits. Arriving on the scene, Commissario Brunetti's response matches that of everybody involved- why would anyone kill a vu cumpra? With few social connections and little money, in-fighting amongst these workers is the obvious answer. But once Brunetti begins investigating this Venetian underworld, he discovers that matters of great value are at stake within the immigrant society. Warned by Patta, his superior, to resist further involvement in the case, Brunetti only becomes more determined to unearth the truth behind this mysterious killing. However, reluctant as he is to let this event be smugly relegated to the category of 'not worth dealing with', how far will Brunetti be able to penetrate the murky subculture of Venice's illegal community?
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The stunning fourteenth Commissario Brunetti mystery takes our detective into a world of illegal immigrants and diamond smuggling, from bestselling crime writer Donna Leon.

About the Author

Donna Leon was named by The Times as one of the 50 Greatest Crime Writers. She is an award-winning crime novelist, celebrated for the bestselling Brunetti series. Donna has lived in Venice for thirty years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, where she worked as a teacher. Donna's books have been translated into 35 languages and have been published around the world. Her previous novels featuring Commissario Brunetti have all been highly acclaimed; including Friends in High Places, which won the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, Fatal Remedies, Doctored Evidence, A Sea of Troubles and Beastly Things.


When an illegal alien (or vu cumpra) from Africa, who's selling fake designer handbags, is killed execution-style in a crowded Venice market, the case creates personal crises for Leon's endearing police Commissario Guido Brunetti (Doctored Evidence) as well as international ramifications. For Brunetti, the firestorm starts when his daughter, Chiara, horrifies her mother, Paola, by saying it was "only a vu cumpra," leading to family discussions of race and class. Then warning flags appear for the commissario: his superior warns him to drop the case, Brunetti finds uncut diamonds among the victim's belongings, and the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs show undue interest. Brunetti persists, of course, following threads and calling upon the expertise of friends and relatives, to the point of possibly endangering persons close to him at home and at work. Despite the dispiriting and all-too-plausible ending, the evocative Venetian setting and the warmth and humanity of the Brunetti family add considerable pleasure to this nuanced, intelligent mystery; another winner from the Venice-based Leon. Highly recommended for all mystery collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 1/05.]-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

In this stunning novel, the 14th to feature the dogged, intuitive Venetian police detective Guido Brunetti (after 2004's Doctored Evidence), Leon combines an engrossing, complex plot with an indictment of the corruption endemic to Italian society. The murder of an anonymous African street vendor, an inoffensive, possibly illegal Senegalese immigrant, explodes into a many-layered conundrum. Italian attitudes toward "Senegali" range from the bargain shoppers' approval of their harmless efforts to earn money selling knock-off accessories to legitimate merchants' outrage at competition from the cheaper goods. After Brunetti discovers uncut diamonds hidden in the victim's spartan room and evidence the room was searched, the Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministries take over the case and all of Brunetti's pertinent files, papers and computer disappear. Enraged, Brunetti sidesteps normal police procedures and taps into personal and professional sources, uncovering evidence linking the victim, the Angolan civil war, the Italian secret service and an industrial giant with government connections. Many of Leon's favorite characters appear, including the gourmand Brunetti's family, the obsequious Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta and Patta's irreverent secretary, Signorina Elletra. They balance this dark, cynical tale of widespread secrecy, violence and corruption. Agent, Susanne Bauknecht, Diogenes Verlag (Switzerland). (May 26) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"The thoughtful and charming [Brunetti] is on top form . . . His nicely balanced world . . . is cumulatively engrossing. In this domestic detail, Leon roots the power of the ordinary, moral individual" * Sunday Times * "Leon writes with great literary panache and evocative power about the world's most beautiful and mysterious city" * Spectator * "Donna Leon has a wonderful feel for the hidden evils that lie below the facade of the magical city, and Brunetti, sturdy family man and cynic, is an endearing guide into the machinations of Italian society" * The Times * "It would be simply perverse not to acknowledge [Leon's] skill . . . The reader comes to look forward to Paola's elegant Venetian lunches as much as Brunetti does . . . The plot of Blood from a Stone both stands up to and complements the cast . . . Comfort reading of the highest order" * TLS * "The fabulous Donna Leon" -- Antonia Fraser * Spectator *

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