A Question of Belief: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

by Donna Leon

Hardcover, 2010

Call number

MYST LEO

Collection

Genres

Publication

Atlantic Monthly Press (2010), Edition: 1, 288 pages

Description

Under the stifling summer sun, Venice is flooded with tourism. Commissario Guido Brunetti is planning the perfect mountain vacation where he can catch up on his reading. However, before he can go, an old friend has him look into a court corruption case. As he probes deeper, Commissario Brunetti quickly becomes embroiled in a shocking murder case that is linked to his own investigation.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MarkPSadler
Ms. Leon’s work is not the in your face thrill-a minute storyline that I am accustomed to reading bit a slow burning smoldering story that builds in intensity as the book progresses. It comes at you like neighborhood gossip caught at wisps and gestures over the garden fence, like returning for a
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cup of coffee to a an old and trusted friend as little by little the whole story emerges and you tell yourself ‘of course why didn’t I see it coming.’


I actually started the book before I left on vacation to England, came back and picked up the book and carried on without missing a beat. The slow moving police officers, hampered by the sweltering summer in Venice, go about their business , while looking for shade or heaven forbid actual air-conditioning while laying out two stories for our enjoyment. Inspector Brunetti aides his fellow officer with concerns he has over a charlatan of a palm reader, tarot waving soothsayer that his mother appears to paying a rather unsightly sum to and then the two of them become embroiled in what appears to be a scam in the making involving a lady judge and her bailiff.

When the inspector’s vacation is interrupted to the point of him having to change trains on the way out of town with his family to return to oversee what is the untimely murder of the afore mentioned bailiff does the storyline suddenly take on overtones of menace. The sudden lull in crime in Venice is over-ridden with blackmail, fraud and charges of indecency and Brunetti’s skills are bought to task as he ably puts our fears to rest.
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LibraryThing member tututhefirst
Commissario Brunetti's loyal assistant, Lorenzo Vianello, has come to Guido for help in dis-entangling his elderly Aunt who has fallen under the grips of a charasmatic faith healer, who is operating just on the edge of the law. Brunetti ruminates how to handle this unofficial problem, but cannot
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find an answer. In the meantime, summer has descended on Venice with a vengeance, and Guido and Paola are actually getting away for a vacation. The merciless heat in Venice has sent them fleeing, along with thousands of others, to the mountains in the north, where they have visions of taking long walks wearing sweaters, sitting before a fire in the evening, and sleeping under eiderdowns.

Unfortunately, Brunetti does not even make it to his ultimate mountain retreat before his telefonino rings calling him back to solve a murder. Vianello also is recalled, and together they slog through the heat, trying to find out why a mid-level civil servant working in the courts and living with him mother, has been found murdered in the piazza of his residence. While solving that, they are led to more clues about how to solve Auntie's problem.

The book is vintage Leon....good characters, lots of twists, suspects, and Venetian logic (or lack thereof) leading the reader to the conclusion. As with many of her books, the ending will not please all the readers, but it is one that is realistic and very much in keeping with the characters in her series..
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LibraryThing member OneMorePage
By absolute coincidence (honest!), I happened to take this book along with me to Italy two weeks ago. While I was sweltering under the Tuscan sun, Brunetti was roasting in Venice. While lack of air conditioning was discussed, I was sweating my way through the night with just a weak fan for relief,
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unable to sleep, but having Brunetti for commiseration.

As always, a good, solid mystery, well written and well plotted. Leon's Commissario Brunetti never disappoints.
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LibraryThing member gsisson
No one does Italy like Leon does - you feel as though you are there and seeing it through the eyes of a native. Throw in an excellent plot line and very real characters, and once again you have a book that ends too soon.
LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
An entertaining novel, though not up to the standards of the best in this series.
LibraryThing member kraaivrouw
This is a very elegant and restrained character driven mystery. If you're looking for an action oriented police procedural or thriller, this is not the book for you. Ms. Leon reminds me a lot of PD James - there's something cool, calm, and collected about the way both of them write.

A Question of
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Belief has a strong sense of place and time. I could feel the heat and humidity of summertime Venice. I recognize the feeling of trying to move slow and stay cool when air conditioning is hard to find, of the advantages of older houses with high ceilings, plaster walls, and lots of windows. The book also feels very rooted in Italy of today with characters asking fundamental questions of themselves about their roles, their government, corruption - all the things you would expect them to think about.

This is a wonderful, ambling book. Despite its short length the pacing feels like hot summer days - moving through and past the sweat and the sun. I can understand the popularity of this series of novels - it's well-earned.
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LibraryThing member CarltonC
Another beautifully portrayed picture of Venice (in the summer) and Venetian society, with the ongoing stories of Commisario Brunetti, his family and colleagues.
The mystery is weak, but the story is strong, and if you have been reading them as a series you will undoubtedly enjoy the updating of the
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stories of individual characters. (I do wonder when the children will leave home!)
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LibraryThing member cookiemo
I felt that this book really said nothing for almost 100 pages. I then realised that the author was simply setting the scene and characters up before the murder. I enjoyed the book very much.
LibraryThing member reader68
Aide memoire: Commissario Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello investigate the murder of an usher at the Courthouse. Also Vianello's aunt has become obsessed with horoscopes.
LibraryThing member bookworm_naida
About:
A Question of Belief is the nineteenth book in Donna Leon's series featuring a Venetian police commissioner named Guido Brunetti.
Set against the stifling Venetian heat, there are two investigations going on in this installment.

A man named Araldo Fontana has been murdered and he is suspect of
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being involved with a corrupt judge who delays trials for bribes. Guido was looking forward to a cool vacation in the Alps with is book loving wife Paola and their two children. He finds himself in the midst of a murder investigation instead.

Guido's sidekick is Ispettore Vianello. Vianello's aunt seems to be taken in by a corrupt psychic. Her bank account has been dwindling and she insists it is for charity. This is the second investigation.

My thoughts:
As I mentioned before, A Question of Belief is the nineteenth novel in this series. This can be read as a stand alone book.
The author sets the mood perfectly and as I read I could definitely imagine the stifling hot weather in Venice. I think I would have enjoyed this one more if I had read a few of the others books first and gotten a better feel for the characters. The story did start off a bit slow for me, but it picked up toward the middle, once the murder occurred and the investigation really took off. Author Donna Leon added a twist that I hadn't seen coming and the ending was not what I expected. I don't include spoilers in my reviews, so I'll leave it at that.

Guido and his family were my favorites in this story. I especially liked Paola's literary references. Guido actually takes time out of his busy day to come home and sit down to lunch with his family. I found that a nice touch.
Overall, a nice, quick dose of mystery set in Venice with some memorable characters.

The first in this series is called Death at La Fenice and was published in 1992. I'll have to be on the lookout for other Guido Brunetti mysteries.
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LibraryThing member pennykaplan
Brunetti is called back from his family vacation to a steaming Venice to solve the murder of a court clerk.
LibraryThing member cyderry
This 19th installment of the Guido Brunetti series returns the great characters of Commissario Brunetti, Inspector Vianello, and secretary Signorina Elettra to Venice in the stifling heat of a Venice August. Guido loses out on his vacation in the Alps with his family when a diligent government
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worker is found dead. Was he murdered because of his job working for a corrupt judge or was he murdered because he was a homosexual?

The book is filled with twists and turns followed by an unusual resolution.
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LibraryThing member MarkPSadler
Ms. Leon’s work is not the in your face thrill-a minute storyline that I am accustomed to reading bit a slow burning smoldering story that builds in intensity as the book progresses. It comes at you like neighborhood gossip caught at wisps and gestures over the garden fence, like returning for a
Show More
cup of coffee to a an old and trusted friend as little by little the whole story emerges and you tell yourself ‘of course why didn’t I see it coming.’


I actually started the book before I left on vacation to England, came back and picked up the book and carried on without missing a beat. The slow moving police officers, hampered by the sweltering summer in Venice, go about their business , while looking for shade or heaven forbid actual air-conditioning while laying out two stories for our enjoyment. Inspector Brunetti aides his fellow officer with concerns he has over a charlatan of a palm reader, tarot waving soothsayer that his mother appears to paying a rather unsightly sum to and then the two of them become embroiled in what appears to be a scam in the making involving a lady judge and her bailiff.

When the inspector’s vacation is interrupted to the point of him having to change trains on the way out of town with his family to return to oversee what is the untimely murder of the afore mentioned bailiff does the storyline suddenly take on overtones of menace. The sudden lull in crime in Venice is over-ridden with blackmail, fraud and charges of indecency and Brunetti’s skills are bought to task as he ably puts our fears to rest.
Show Less
LibraryThing member MarkPSadler
Ms. Leon’s work is not the in your face thrill-a minute storyline that I am accustomed to reading bit a slow burning smoldering story that builds in intensity as the book progresses. It comes at you like neighborhood gossip caught at wisps and gestures over the garden fence, like returning for a
Show More
cup of coffee to a an old and trusted friend as little by little the whole story emerges and you tell yourself ‘of course why didn’t I see it coming.’


I actually started the book before I left on vacation to England, came back and picked up the book and carried on without missing a beat. The slow moving police officers, hampered by the sweltering summer in Venice, go about their business , while looking for shade or heaven forbid actual air-conditioning while laying out two stories for our enjoyment. Inspector Brunetti aides his fellow officer with concerns he has over a charlatan of a palm reader, tarot waving soothsayer that his mother appears to paying a rather unsightly sum to and then the two of them become embroiled in what appears to be a scam in the making involving a lady judge and her bailiff.

When the inspector’s vacation is interrupted to the point of him having to change trains on the way out of town with his family to return to oversee what is the untimely murder of the afore mentioned bailiff does the storyline suddenly take on overtones of menace. The sudden lull in crime in Venice is over-ridden with blackmail, fraud and charges of indecency and Brunetti’s skills are bought to task as he ably puts our fears to rest.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cygnet81
This went much faster than many of Leon's books and also was less bleak. I missed Brunetti's interaction with his family and descriptions of their meals but other than that this was a first class Brunetti mystery. I hate that I now have to wait a whole year for the next one.
LibraryThing member sianpr
A slow burner that becomes more involving as it gets going. Brunetti spends a lot of time in this outing pondering the state of Italy. It’d be quite surprising to find the police in Venice were quite as unoccupied as Brunetti and his colleagues.
LibraryThing member addunn3
A clairvoyant, a bent judge, and a cheap apartment leads Brunetti to the solution to a murder. The plot and characters are well developed - gentle humor and a few insights on life. Very enjoyable read.
LibraryThing member cbl_tn
When two colleagues ask for favors, Venice’s Commissario Brunetti finds himself juggling two unofficial investigations. The person in charge of employment records at the Commune is disturbed when he discovers a pattern of delays in the cases assigned to a particular judge. Meanwhile, Vianello is
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concerned about an elderly aunt, fearing that she is being swindled by an astrologer. Brunetti wants to wrap up both matters before his family heads to the mountains for a much anticipated vacation, but his hopes are shattered when someone at the Commune is murdered.

Leon is once again at the top of her game with this series entry. I love both Brunetti’s camaraderie with his coworkers at the questura and the intimacies of his family life. Leon develops both of these aspects of Brunetti’s world in equal measures.
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LibraryThing member thornton37814
Vacation time looms on the horizon as Brunetti begins on unofficial investigation into the way Vianello's aunt spends her child's inheritance. Court postponements also captivate his attention when a friend informs him about a noticed irregularity. He finds these a welcome diversion from the lack of
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cases leading up to vacation and knows their unofficial status makes them easy to drop. He looks forward to escaping the Venice heat in a mountain setting, but before he reaches his destination, he receives a call. A murder connected to the court date irregularities occurred. Vianello also returns from his vacation to assist. Everyone describes the victim as "a good man," but someone hated him enough to commit murder. Is the motive work-related or linked to his personal life? It's another great installment in the series with David Colacci doing the narration.
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LibraryThing member ffortsa
A solid entry in the series, this story sticks close to Venice, confronting the murder of a model civil servant and the effects of a fraudulent spiritual and medical advisor on the elderly. The murder derails a part of Guido's participation in a family vacation in the mountains during a terribly
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hot season, and as usual the reader can feel the implacable heat and sun.
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LibraryThing member dianaleez
Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries are more novels of character and setting than mysteries. The average reader of the series probably has far less interest in 'who done it' than in the mysterious and oft nefarious workings of Venice and in the Brunetti household itself.

It's with a
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highly skilled, if caustic, pen that Leon depicts Brunetti's attempts to provide justice for the citizens of Venice. "A Question of Belief" is set in August, and the perpetually irascible Brunetti is besieged by both the the hot humid weather and two cases of fraud, one of which ends in murder. A faith healer is preying on the vulnerable aging population. A medical technician is behaving strangely, and court cases are being delayed to the advantage of the defendants. Disparate threads that merge and separate and end in two unnecessary deaths.

But as always, the major character in the novel is Venice and the Venetian character.

Highly recommended for those who love Venice and those who enjoy depth of character and irony. Simenon readers rejoice!
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LibraryThing member diana.hauser
A Question of Belief is written by Donna Leon. The title is Book #19 of the Commissario Guido Brunetti series.
“ No one knows the labyrinth world of Venice or the way favoritism and corruption shapes Italian life like Ms. Leon’s Brunetti - the thoughtful Venetian cop with a love of food, an
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outspoken wife and a computer-hacker secretary who plays Man Friday to the detective.”
A highly interesting, intelligent and recommended series. *****
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Pages

288

ISBN

0802119425 / 9780802119421
Page: 0.2842 seconds