The Mystery Happens in Venice, But Will Be Discussed Here


The next meeting of the Mysterious Book Club, a group of readers who love mystery and suspense, will be at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Palisades Library Community Room, 861 Alma Real.

The group is reading “Death at La Fenice” by Donna Leon. This is the first book in the internationally bestselling Guido Brunetti detective series.

A high society murder leads Guido to investigate the darker side of beautiful Venice. All of his skills must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world-renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice, the opera house. The book is also provides a lovely tour through Venice.

The author was born in 1942 in New Jersey. She has worked as a travel guide in Rome and a copywriter in London. She taught literature in universities in Iran, China and Saudi Arabia. She lived in Venice for many years and now lives in Switzerland.

She wrote her first crime novel because a friend suggested she try the genre. She did and when she finished, she put it away. Later she pulled it out and submitted it for the Suntory prize in Japan. The book won and she was offered a two-book contract by Harper Collins.

Her reviews are good and include:

“A splendid series . . . with a backdrop of the city so vivid you can almost smell it.” —The Sunday Telegraph (London)

“Few detective writers create so vivid, inclusive and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon, the expatriate American with the Venetian heart. . . . One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever.” —Paul Skenazy, The Washington Post

“Donna Leon can paralyze the reader with joyful suspense.” —The Mail on Sunday (London)

Pacific Palisades Head Librarian Barbara Birenbaum said the group welcomes new members. “Even if you haven’t read this book, come anyway, meet the group and you’ll be ready for the next book!”

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