Book Review: “By Its Cover” by Donna Leon

By Its Cover by Donna Leon

I’m reading through Donna Leon’s novels from the past few years, By its Cover (2014) is yet another fine story, set in Comissario Brunetti’s Venice.

Brunetti and colleagues are shocked and infuriated by the report of theft and vandalism of old books from the local library. What has the world come to, if people are pilfering Italy’s ancient treasures? And who will act to protect these beautiful and significant objects?

As the title suggests, things are not necessarily as they seem, and when murder is committed the police must rush to uncover the secrets and hidden lives of these apparently unworldly and harmless people.

As usual, Leon gives us a number of interesting characters who live in the most mysterious and romantic city of Venice. If everyone else is cynical and corrupt, Brunetti is gentle, honest, and empathetic. This is his city, these are his people, and he walks quietly among them.

Reading Lean makes me want to live a little more “Venetian”. Not indolent luxury, but gently caring for my home town and the people who live here.

  1. Donna Leon, By Its Cover, New York, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014.


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