Book info

Dressed For Death (2005)

Dressed for Death (2005)
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Rating
3.88 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
0143035843 (ISBN13: 9780143035848)
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English
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publisher
penguin books
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Dressed For Death (2005)
Dressed For Death (2005)

About book: Not my favorite Donna Leon-- a bit more grizzly and sordid than some-- but really worth the read for the start of Chapter Twenty-Three, in which our hero, Commissario of Police Guido Brunetti, having a rare night home alone without his wife and children, cooks his supper and reads Tacitus' Annals of Imperial Rome... "The heat usually robbed Brunetti of all appetite, but that night he found himself really hungry... He stopped at Rialto on the way home, surprised to find some of the fruit and vegetable stalls still open after eight. He bought a kilo of plum tomatoes so ripe the vendor warned him to carry them carefully and not put anything on top. At another stall, he bought a kilo of dark figs and got the same warning. Luckily, each warning had come with a plastic bag, so he arrived at home with a bag in each hand."When he got inside, he opened all the windows in the apartment, changed into loose cotton pants and a T-shirt, and went into the kitchen. He chopped onions, dropped the tomatoes in boiling water, the more easily to peel them, and went out on the terrace to pick some leaves of fresh basil. Working automatically, not really paying attention to what he was doing, he prepared a simple sauce and then put water on to cook the pasta. When the salted water rose to a rolling boil, he threw half a package of penne rigate into the water and stirred them around."...When the pasta was done, he poured it through a colander, tossed it into a serving bowl, then poured the sauce on top of it. With a large spoon, he swirled it round, then went out on to the terrace, where he had already taken a fork, a glass and a bottle of Cabernet. He ate from the bowl. Their terrace was so high that the only people close enough to see what he was doing would have to be in the bell tower of the church of San Polo. He ate all the pasta, wiping the remaining sauce up with a piece of bread, then took the bowl inside and came out with a plate of freshly washed figs."Before he started on them, he went back inside and picked up his copy of Tacitus' Annals of Imperial Rome. Brunetti picked up where he had left off, with the account of the myriad horrors of the reign of Tiberius, an emperor for whom Tacitus seemed to have an especial distaste. These Romans murdered, betrayed, and did violence to honour and to one another. How like us they were, Brunetti reflected. He read on, learning nothing to change that conclusion, until the mosquitoes began to attack him, driving him inside. On the sofa, until well after midnight, he read on, not at all troubled by the knowledge that this catalogue of crimes and villainies committed almost two thousand years ago served to remove his mind from those that were being committed around him. His sleep was deep and dreamless, and he awoke refreshed, as if he believed that Tacitus' fierce, uncompromising morality would somehow help him through the day."He cooks, he reads. In Venice, mind you. I don't know about you, but this is my kind of guy.

And he had then come to realize that most remarkable of truths about Italians: no truth existed beyond personal experience, and all evidence that contradicted personal belief was dismissed. (p. 90)She opened the single lock on the door and pushed it open, letting Brunetti into a large apartment with four tall windows, closed and shuttered now, that opened onto the campo.tShe led the way through the living room, a room familiar from Brunetti's youth: fat armchairs and a sofa with horsehair stuffing that scratched at whoever sat down; massive dark brown credenzas, their tops covered with silver candy bowls and silver-framed photos; the floor of poured Venetian pavement that glistened even in the dim light. He could have been in his grandparents' house.tThe kitchen was the same. The sink was stone, and an immense cylindrical water heater sat in one corner. The kitchen table had a marble surface, and he could see her both rolling out pasta and ironing on that surface.t"Just it put there, by the door," she said. "Would you like a glass of something?"t"Water would be nice, Signora."tAs he knew she would, she pulled down a silver salver from the top of the cabinet, placed a small round lace doily in the center, then set a Murano wineglass on top of it. From the refrigerator, she took a bottle of mineral water and filled the glass. (p. 107)t"I'm down in Dorsoduro. Do you know the Ramo dieter gl'Incurabili?"tIt was a small campo with a running fountain, just back from the Zattere. "Yes, I do."t"Get the fountain in back of you, looking at the little canal, and it's the first door on the right." Far clearer than any giving of number or street name, this would get any Venetian to the house with no difficulty. (p. 115)
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Reviews
Heather (DeathByBook)
I have really enjoyed the other titles in this series. It seems that Donna Leon really hit her stride with this one, the third in the series. Not only is it a good mystery tale, but I also love the relationships and banter between Comissario Brunetti and his family. As in the other books of hers that I have read the city of Venice seems to become a vivid character in itself. Leon has real grasp on how to create a sense of place without overdoing the descriptors. I recommend this one highly. A solid story that treats heavy issues in a serious manner, but never loses it's sense of humour.
Maddy
RATING: 3.5PROTAGONIST: Guido BrunettiOCCUPATION: CommissarioSETTING: Venice, ItalySERIES: #3 of 15Venice is in the middle of a heat wave, a situation that has put everyone out of sorts, including Commissario Guido Brunetti. Fortunately for him, he and his family are planning a vacation to the much cooler mountain region. But before he can even pack a pair of underwear, he’s involved in a new case. A transvestite whore is found murdered in a field outside of a slaughterhouse in Mestre. Dressed in a red dress, with one red shoe on and one red shoe off, it seems an unlikely place for an assignation. The Mestre police department is shorthanded, so Brunetti ends up taking the case.Right from the start, something feels off about the situation to Brunetti. Early on, he discovers that the murdered man is named Leonardo Mascari, a married man who is the director of the Bank of Verona. What Brunetti is having trouble reconciling is that the decidedly unattractive and middle-aged Mascari would have any kind of clientele if he were a male whore. As he ventures into finding out more about this kind of life, he uncovers the fact that there are men in power who are using the services of male whores. Of course, no one in the police wants to approach any of these powerful people and make any connection to such a sordid case.What Brunetti also finds is that there is a very lucrative scam going on having to do with renting apartments in Venice, apartments which are almost impossible for the average person to rent. The more he investigates, the more danger he and his team faces. As a matter of fact, one of them is killed during a meet. Guido Brunetti is a character who is always welcome at my reading table. He is a devoted family man. Unlike many cops, he is always civilized and has an intuitive sense of how to comfort or interrogate those he meets during his investigations. He is sensitive and serious but exhibits a fine sense of humor as well, especially when interacting with his wife, Paola. Although the book wasn't quite as strong as the first two in the series, it was nonetheless satisfying. Leon does an exceptional job of portraying Venice, its glory and its warts, as well as the complicated politics of the time.
Bryan Higgs
Well, this is the third Donna Leon book I've read featuring Commissario Brunetti. I wasn't keen on the first one (chronologically), thought the second was somewhat better, and now this one seems somewhat better still -- but still not great.I just don't see why so many of my female friends are so ga-ga about this series. I think they're merely OK, but I'll keep on plugging, since I need a new author's series to move to. I've mostly run out of my other favorite authors' books. Yes, I know people have different tastes and look for different things when reading even a murder mystery/detective book. (I note that, for the most part, these books don't have much mystery; just Brunetti doing his detecting in the face of his obstructive boss, and lots of incapable colleagues.)Probably on to the fourth in the series ("Death and Judgment"), although perhaps not immediately. There are other things going on in my life, including trying to catch up with a number of books that are in my "Currently Reading" list, but which have, for various reasons, sat around untouched for a while.
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