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The new Donna Leon book

I know I'm not the only one who has been counting down the days until the new Donna Leon book was published. A Question of Belief is the 19th in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series set in Venice; I started reading it last night and can't wait to get home from work today so I can get back to it. There is nothing better than having a new book that you really want to read!

This year, another book was released on the same day as the latest novel, a cookbook written by Donna Leon's best friend and native Venetian, Roberta Pianaro.


It's a beautiful book with recipes that I'll actually make (not too complicated, in other words). Throughout the cookbook, there are excerpts from the mystery novels - passages that focus on Brunetti's love for food and family. Many of the recipes from the novels, like Paola's famous apple cake, are featured in the book.

Each section begins with a "culinary story" by Donna Leon. My favorite so far is the story of a day she spent picking plums and tomatoes on Sant' Erasmo, Venice's garden island.

I've written before about how it's easy to buy the same Leon book twice because a few of the novels in the series were published with different titles. If you buy any of these books in Venice, you also have to be careful about the different covers (the UK and the US versions have different ones). I have to say that for this latest one, I prefer the UK cover with a strange and very skinny cat walking across Piazza San Marco~


The US cover is fine, just not as intriguing. I don't know yet if the cat is a character in the story.


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Comments (15)


That's exciting news, Annie! Maybe I'll save the latest book for my upcoming trip (Leon's books are so engaging that it will help me forget I'm stuck on a long plane trip. Or sitting in an airport!)

I've got a few duplicates of Leon books, where I've fallen for the new title or changed cover. I suppose other authors' publishers do this to a degree, but I don't think I've actually seen so many different titles as with Leon's books.

I hadn't heard about the cookbook, it looks interesting.

Yummy!! Can't wait to check the cookbook out! But, I have to say I was disapointed by About Face, I didn't even finish it... Did you like it?
Have a nice evening!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, the cookbook sounds interesting and I like simple recipes too. I'll have to look for it next time I visit B&N. I remember reading one of Donna's books before my trip to Venice and enjoyed it. I think it's time for me to read book # 2. Thanks for the tip on the cover. It's so interesting that there are two completely different covers. I like the UK version better too. It seems to have more mystery and intrigue to it.

Thanks so much for sharing. Have fun reading it tonight.


Thanks for the tip - I've got some B&N gift cards burning a hole in my pocket!

It's always fun to discover a new author. I think the cook book would be more to my daughter's taste as that gene skipped a generation. I love Venice and want to get my new husband there soon to experience all the glories.

Super - thanks for this. Glad you can attest to the recipes too - will have to check it out. I used to keep a list with me of all her books read but that's somewhere with the rest of the lists I make and lose along the way. Mahalo for this. m

Yes, yes, this is exciting news. Now to visit my friend amazon.ca! Thanks for letting me know about this - although I may wait and read it when I'm in venice! LOL

I still need to read her books. I also prefer the UK cover with the cat walking across Piazza San Marco. Very mysterious!

I've never read a Donna Leon book, but you have talked me into it! The cookbook sounds great too.

Does it matter which Donna Leon book I start with? Are the stories connected in any way?

Nancy, I didn't read the books in order but I wished I had. You won't be lost if you start with a later book, but there are recurring characters throughout the series, and it's interesting to see how they develop across the books. Hope you enjoy them!


That book looks great! I just got a big coffee table book about the history of Venice at an antiquarian bookstore for $5 the other day. I was so thrilled! It has beautiful photos!


I don't understand the concept of different covers...perhaps because I almost always prefer the European versions! Love the golden hue of the UK one.

I have ordered the cookbook. Now I will look for a list of books by their publication date to try to read them in order.

Thanks Annie!

Ken Kellogg-Smith:

Fifteen of Donna Leon's Brunetti series books have been adapted for German television -- you can see one of their adaptions ("A Sea of Troubles") on www.YouTube.com.

To watch the adaption, Search for "Donna Leon" and click on the listing for "Das Gesetz der Lagune", the German title for "A Sea of Troubles. There are nine episodes in all; you can watch them individually at your leisure, or watch the entire book at one sitting, as the individual episodes load automatically one right after the other right up to the end. For best viewing, click on the icon (on the bar below the picture) that maximizes the display to full screen.

Knowing some German (even 'travel German') is a help, but you don't need to know any German to appreciate the video scenes of Venice, the Questura, Brunetti and Vianello travelling in a police boat, etc., and the bars and other scenes on the island of Pellestrina (there's a vaporetto stop there if you've any interest in going there).

One iteresting note: When the German actors in the adaption say "goodbye", they don't say "Ciao" -- they use the German "Tschuss" instead!

Happy travels ...!

Ken, thanks for the info. I'm curious to see what the actors look like for each of the characters. That's funny that they don't say "ciao"!

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