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Unto Us a Son Is Given

Narrated by: David Sibley
Series: Guido Brunetti, Book 28
Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Unto Us a Son Is Given, written by Donna Leon, read by David Sibley. 

The latest of Donna Leon's best-selling Venice crime novels.

As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, the Count Falier, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune, something which Gonzalo’s friends, including the Count, find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why they're so intent on meddling in the old man's business.

Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned, and a few of his oldest friends gather in Venice to plan the memorial service. 

But when Berta, a striking woman and one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?

Once again, Donna Leon brilliantly follows the twists and turns of the human condition, set against the ebb and flow of Venetian life.

©2019 Donna Leon (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

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Not what they used to be

I got to know Brunetti about fifteen years ago and binge read the first half of the series. The story lines were strong, the police work (while clearly never the focus) was convincing and the characters well developed. Vianello, senorina Elletra, Fao, even the nasty Scarpa, all had a real role to play in the unfolding of the plot. I even went to the questora, palazzo and the Brunettis' apartment when visiting Venice and they were perfectly real! I thoroughly recommend these early installments.

Over the last five or so books however, I have become almost as bored with the plots as I suspect Donna Leon has. Instead of getting into the complexities of Brunetti's mind to understand how he solves the crimes, we are subjected to endless musings on irrelevant tangents (I could never work out what the fate of the women of Troy had to do with anything or the relevance of the altercation between Patta's wife and the neighbours' son). I sometimes wonder whether these are not actually pages from Leon's other writings, accidentally included in the manuscript!

Long gone are Vianello's clever wife, tantalising glimpses into Elletra's mysterious private life, Alvise's development into a good policeman. Following their stories pulled me in to the world of Venetian crime with Brunetti's inner world at its center.
I have kept reading and listening to new books in the hope that they might return but sadly, like them, I just no longer care enough. Rather, I will trust that Guido and Paola will retire to the country villa with trunks of Greek tragedies for him and Henry James for her, to grow old contentedly with good wine and perfectly cooked pasta.
Ciao, Guido.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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She lost it!

Endless useless descriptions of what Brunetti does when he comes home...... No surprise with the characters and the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent story and excellent narrator

I love the Brunetti books. This one did not disappoint. Indeed, my only criticism is that there was no pause between the end of the book and a voice rushing in with .... hope you have enjoyed blah, blah. Could you tell Penguin Audio Producers that a good book needs a moment or two before the reader wishes to re engage with the world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What I love about Brunetti

If you enjoy characters with depth in your murder mysteries Brunetti is a good choice. Yet again Donna Leon fills him with simple wisdom. I often imagine Brunetti reading Marcus Aurelius and thinking about how it applies to life around him. Thank you also for making his family such a haven. Wonderful.

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  • Roberta
  • Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, United Kingdom
  • 25-06-19

Superb!

Another gem from Donna Leon. Like good wine, as it ages it matures. The exposition of Commissario Brunettti’s probing of the events and humanity behind his investigation of his most recent case, lay bare the greed and despair, as well as the good heartedness of people who battle the terrors of living in the 21st century. Honour is due to Donna Leon who battles her own demons as she combines enthralling storytelling with the bleakness of living in an age where the golden histories of recorded history in drama, poetry and prose are confronted and compared with the banality of 21st century existence in its speed towards doom. My only plea is that they last longer.