An Amazon Best Book of the Month (Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense)
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Crime Reads
"Venetians love to gossip, Donna Leon advises us in Unto Us a Son Is Given, her latest mystery featuring that most compassionate of policemen, Guido Brunetti, commissario di polizia. There's bound to be talk when Gonzalo Rodriguez de Tejeda, the rich Spanish godfather of Brunetti's wife, Paola, adopts his lover and makes the young man his legal heir . . . This cop is neither jaded nor callous, and he has that rare quality Italians would call 'un cuore d'oro, ' a heart of gold."--Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"Once again, Leon transforms what might have been a straightforward mystery into something much richer and more resonant--in this case, a meditation on love, loss, family, and prejudice . . . Many crime novels place domestic story lines alongside crime plots, but Leon masterfully blends the two, enhancing our understanding of both . . . Far more than a whodunit, the real subject of this novel (and Leon's work in general) is what we all do to one another. Like Louise Penny, Leon has cultivated an utterly devoted audience, ever anxious to get to know more about her characters."--Booklist (starred review)
"Leon is a multifaceted, effortlessly assured writer. Her plots are innovative and layered, her characters have developed and matured over the course of a lengthy series, and her prose is imbued with wit and compassion on virtually every page. If you are a fan of Louise Penny (and who isn't?), Leon should be on your short list."--BookPage
"As usual the mystery takes a back seat to Leon's beautiful writing and the pleasure of spending time with Brunetti and company . . . Readers can trust her to guide them safely to dry land."--Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries:
"[Leon] has never become perfunctory, never failed to give us vivid portraits of people and of Venice, never lost her fine, disillusioned indignation."--Ursula K. LeGuin, New York Times
"You become so wrapped up in these compelling characters . . . Each one is better than the last."--Louise Erdrich, PBS NewsHour
"Donna Leon's Venetian mysteries never disappoint, calling up the romantic sights and sounds of La Serenissima even as they acquaint us with the practical matters that concern the city's residents."--Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"Few detective writers create so vivid, inclusive, and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon . . . One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever."--Washington Post
"The sophisticated but still moral Brunetti, with his love of food and his loving family, proves a worthy custodian of timeless values and verities."--Wall Street Journal
"[Leon] uses the relatively small and crime-free canvas of Venice for rips about Italian life, sexual styles and--best of all--the kind of ingrown business and political corruption that seems to lurk just below the surface."--Chicago Tribune
"Hers is an unusually potent cocktail of atmosphere and event."--New Yorker
"For those who know Venice, or want to, Brunetti is a well-versed escort to the nooks, crannies, moods, and idiosyncrasies of what residents call La Serenissima, the Serene One . . . Richly atmospheric, [Leon] introduces you to the Venice insiders know."--USA Today
"Donna Leon is the undisputed crime fiction queen . . . Leon's ability to capture the social scene and internal politics [of Venice] is first-rate."--Baltimore Sun
"Terrific at providing, through its weary but engaging protagonist, a strong sense of the moral quandaries inherent in Italian society and culture."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Brunetti is one of the most attractive policemen in crime fiction today."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"As always, Brunetti is highly attuned to (and sympathetic toward) the failings of the humans around him."--Seattle Times
"Leon's writing trembles with true feeling."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Leon started out with offhand, elegant excellence, and has simply kept it up."--Guardian
"Compassionate yet incorruptible, Brunetti knows that true justice doesn't always end in an arrest or a trial."--Publishers Weekly
"[Brunetti] is a superb police detective--calm, deliberate, and insightful as he investigates with a reflective thoroughness."--Library Journal
"The appeal of Guido Brunetti, the hero of Donna Leon's long-running Venetian crime series, comes not from his shrewdness, though he is plenty shrewd, nor from his quick wit. It comes, instead, from his role as an Everyman . . . [his life is] not so different from our own days at the office or nights around the dinner table. Crime fiction for those willing to grapple with, rather than escape, the uncertainties of daily life."--Booklist
"It's difficult to describe the work of Donna Leon other than in superlatives . . . An annual blessing, a fine series--one of the finest (see what I mean) in the mystery (or any) genre . . . There are few reading joys that equal cracking the binding of a new Leon novel . . . If you have not experienced this world, so exotic and yet so familiar, you can pick up literally any volume in the series and begin a comfortable entry into Brunetti's Venice."--BookReporter
"One of the most popular crime series worldwide . . . While the Brunetti books, with their abundance of local color and gastronomic treats, appeal to the fans of the traditional mystery, Leon has something darker and deeper in mind."--Life Sentence
"No author has delved into Venetian society quite like Leon, whose insider's view shows how crime seeps throughout the city, touching all strata of society."--Mystery Scene
The latest of Donna Leon's bestselling 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.