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Extended Audio Sample Beastly Things Audiobook, by Donna Leon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (974 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Donna Leon Narrator: David Colacci Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries Release Date: April 2012 ISBN: 9781482974737
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When the body of man is found in a canal, damaged by the tides, carrying no wallet, and wearing only one shoe, Brunetti has little to work with. No local has filed a missing-person report, and no hotel guests have disappeared. Where was the crime scene? And how can Brunetti identify the man when he can’t show pictures of his face? 

The autopsy shows a way forward: it turns out the man was suffering from a rare, disfiguring disease. With Inspector Vianello, Brunetti canvasses shoe stores and winds up on the mainland in Mestre, outside of his usual sphere. From a shopkeeper, they learn that the man had a kindly way with animals. At the same time, animal rights and meat consumption are quickly becoming preoccupying issues at the Venice Questura and in Brunetti’s home, where conversation at family meals offers a window into the joys and conflicts of Italian life. Perhaps with the help of Signorina Elettra, Brunetti and Vianello can identify the man and understand why someone wanted him dead.

As subtle and engrossing as ever, Leon’s Beastly Things is immensely enjoyable, intriguing, and ultimately moving.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As if Brunetti weren’t already steaming about the ‘mindless, atavistic greed’ motivating everything from the shabby practices of the banking industry to the irresponsible dredging of the Grand Canal, Leon hits him with a crime that really tries his soul…So he takes his pleasures where he can—at home with his family, in his favorite coffee bars and on long walks around Venice—but after this case, the city he loves will never be quite the same for him.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Leon hits [Brunetti] with a crime that really tries his soul…So he takes his pleasures where he can—at home with his family, in his favorite coffee bars and on long walks around Venice—but after this case, the city he loves will never be quite the same for him.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Beastly Things…doesn’t disappoint. All her trademark strengths shine in this swiftly paced, sophisticated tale of greed versus ethics.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Like Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey in the 1930s, Guido Brunetti has accumulated depth and subtlety book by book. In Beastly Things he learns, the hard way, unpleasant facts about the meat industry that have long since made vegetarians of his daughter and Inspector Vianello. Leon has never written a more powerful sequence than the chapter in Beastly Things where Brunetti and Vianello visit a busy slaughterhouse. …Set, as always, against the living background of Venice itself, and the family background that keeps Brunetti’s moral compass straight while letting him enjoy good food, wine, and loving support, Beastly Things is a quietly satisfying celebration of the series’s twenty-first birthday. Long may it continue.”

    New Republic

  • “Brunetti’s challenges make for scintillating reading.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “One of the most attractive serial detectives of contemporary fiction…The unravelling of this intricate plot is very satisfying, yet the real pleasure of this novel lies in its evocation of a city whose shimmering beauty is set against the encroaching predations of the Mafia; a city where proper jobs are so rare that most young adults live at home with their parents, studying or wasting time; a place where your only real safety comes from having, say, four Doges in your ancestry, or a father with such powerful influence that nobody dares cross him.”

    Independent (UK)

  • Selected for the April 2012 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 2/4/2014

    " I alway like Donna Leon's Brunetti novels, in fact Guido Brunetti is one of my favorite mystery characters, but the chapter in the slaughter house is not for the squeamish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scilla | 1/28/2014

    " Brunetti is assigned to the case of a man with Madelung's disease who has been stabbed and put into the canal. He first has to find out who the man is, which he does by tracing the man's shoe to Mestre. He gradually figures out about the life of the victim, Dottor Andrea Nava, a veterinarian. From there, he gradually discovers the killer. Signorina finds out a lot of background on the computer, and Vianello works with him most of the time, but it is Brunetti's insight into people which makes the difference. The story illustrates the dishonesty of politicians and the power of the rich and famous in Venice. I think Leon's books get better as the series go on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bonnie | 1/19/2014

    " I think I liked her earlier books better. She's made Brunetti's character more introspective and I found several translation errors. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larraine | 1/17/2014

    " Comissario Guido Brunetti understands all too well the depth of corruption in the government of his native country. He is saddened by a culture that is whipped to a frenzy by the death of a pretty young girl while ignoring the more important issues. (Sound familiar?) When a veterinarian's body is found in a canal, Brunetti's investigation leads to a corrupt slaughterhouse that is allowing sick and diseased animals to be processed for meat. There are some uncomfortable scenes that may enforce vegetarian ideals. Brunetti learns that the dead man's job was to approve animals for slaughter and was uncomfortable with the number of animals that were approved. While he investigates, we learn that while Brunetti often despairs of the corruption he sees around him, he loves Venice and his family. His home is his refuge, a place where his wife lovingly prepares meals while they talk about her love of Henry James and his love of Marcus Aurelius. Donna Leon's writing is almost like a meditation - on crime, on life, on love. The mystery slowly unfolds while we learn more and more about Brunetti's personal and public life, not to mention Venice. This is not a book for people who don't have the patience to read a book that involves no car chases, blood or sex. I've been a huge fan of Donna Leon for a long time, and this book cements that even further. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Polly | 12/16/2013

    " A very pleasant read - classic Donna Leon Venice mystery with a good plot and great setting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 12/12/2013

    " Another great Brunetti mystery. in this one someone is actually arrested for the crime unlike most of past books in this series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Speer | 12/10/2013

    " I enjoy this series about Commissario Brunetti and life and crime in Venice. This one also makes a pretty compelling case for becoming a vegetarian. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 CatBookMom | 12/8/2013

    " I really enjoyed this. Brunetti's life moves at a much slower pace than that of murder cops in other places, other series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda Graff | 12/1/2013

    " Donna Leon never disappoints. She captures Venice in all of its beauty and mystery with the Brunetti mysteries. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 11/21/2013

    " Having an Italian or Venetian connection makes this book a better read, but it is still a pretty good detective story with a social theme that is not terribly blatant, but hits home. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rina | 8/29/2013

    " I particularly enjoyed this novel as as I find Donna Leon develops her characters very well. Each time I open one of her novels, Brunetti seems even more real, as if one was meeting an old friend.... I like the philosophical side of Brunetti. It is truly a pleasure to read Mrs Leon "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne-Marie | 7/11/2013

    " Time in Venice with a Guido Brunetti mystery is time well-spent. In Beastly Things, Brunetti and his colleagues are investigating the mysterious death of a veterinarian whose body was dumped in a canal. They untangle a web of lies surrounding the slaughterhouses in the city. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki | 6/23/2013

    " I love this series. It's based in Venice and I Love all things Italy!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kimberlyn | 2/17/2013

    " I was surprised that I didn't like it more. I had the plot figured out as soon as I found out what the dead man did for a living. From there on it was a tedious wait for the characters to figure it out too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlotte | 1/7/2013

    " Usually I love a Brunetti book, but not this one. Too much attention to the slaughterhouse? It seemed like there was lots of filler (pink slime?). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Taylor | 12/30/2012

    " Pretty average mystery novel. What makes Leon's books work is the local color and that's in short supply here. Add in a dose of heavy-handed politics and it's just barely entertaining. She can do better. This feels like a slapdash, knocked off on vacation kind of novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maurynne | 12/4/2012

    " I have rated all the previous ones 4 or more, but there was something missing from this one. Still worth reading, of course. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 8/20/2012

    " Yay.. latest Donna Leon is out... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo-Lane Birkigt | 8/7/2012

    " always enjoy Donna Leon and Commissario Brunetti, this one was no exception. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori Nelson | 7/21/2012

    " This is another good summer read of a "gentle" mystery. Inspector Brunetti finds the killer, all the while introducing the reader to different aspects of the Venetian lifestyle. I just want to wander around Venice or ride the vaporetto with him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 6/30/2012

    " Good Brunetti tale, as usual. Especially poignant ending. "

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About the Author
Author Donna Leon

Donna Leon has lived in Venice for thirty years and previously lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China, where she worked as a teacher. Her novels featuring Commissario Brunetti have all been highly acclaimed, including Friends in High Places, which won the CWA Silver Dagger for Fiction.

About the Narrator

David Colacci is an actor and director who has directed and performed in prominent theaters nationwide. His credits include roles from Shakespeare to Albee, as well as extensive work on new plays. As a narrator, he has recorded more than one hundred audiobooks, earned eight AudioFile Earphones Awards, and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His narration of The Suspect was named one of AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of 2007.