By Its Cover

By Its Cover

Book - 2014
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One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem-- the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn't exist. As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.
Publisher: New York, NY : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9780802122643
Characteristics: 237 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.


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May 18, 2020

This is not one of Leon's best. Almost as if she had a contract to fulfill and had to publish a book before it was ready. Story gives information about the theft of valuable books . Lots of local color as in her other books. Brunetti as always does his duty as a policeman, is smarter than his bosses, sad over the changes to the city he loves.

Nov 25, 2019

I don't know if it is me or Donna Leon, but lately her efforts seem to be getting weaker. The perfect children, the perfect wife (who always manages to prepare gourmet meals twice a day despite being incredibly busy), the perfect in-laws and above all, the perfect detective. This book is actually quite boring for the first part and never really rises much above the ennui level for me.
Enjoyment of the description of the city of Venice keeps me coming back as I will probably never get to visit there, but I am not sure if it will be enough to keep me reading Leon. In my opinion, Michael Dibden offers a much better read.

Jul 05, 2017

One of the three of the NYT Literary Tour of Italy's Libraries

Sep 11, 2015

Books written by Donna Leon are about Italian culture and relationships; solving the mystery is secondary. "By Its Cover" deals with the theft and vandalization of rare books.

Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries celebrate life which is a welcome change from mysteries that dwell on violent murder. I would rate "By Its Cover" at 4.0 stars.

SFPL_ExcelsiorLib Aug 12, 2015

If you've been to Venice, you'll feel like you are back there. If you haven't been yet, you'll want to go after reading Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries. This particular one involves stolen and vandalized rare books.

Feb 25, 2015

Set in Venice, this series of detective stories are wonderful. A lot goes on beyond the case this detective works on. The author obviously loves this city, warts and all. The characters are well rounded, the plots interesting and the 'colour' fascinating.

Jan 31, 2015


She could have done so much with the story but it falls flat.

Jan 14, 2015

You can never go wrong with a Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery. If like me, you are a librarian and going on a cruise from Venice, this book has special meaning. I’d never thought about how the wake caused by those huge cruise ships impact the fragile Venice buildings. Granted cruise ships are only mentioned in passing, but that’s going to have a big impact on my as my huge cruise ship leaves port. Leon does such a good job creating her characters, both the ones that appear in every story and the ones who just appear in one. You want to visit Venice? Leon really gives you a good feel what life in like in this magical city.

Sep 29, 2014

I've read all of Donna Leon's Brunetti series and love them. I appreciated this one for the wit and social commentary which Leon does so well. However, this book seemed to be about 100 pages short of a complete mystery. The story ended so abruptly that it seemed that Leon got bored with the story herself!

Sep 28, 2014

I just could not get into this book and gave up about a third of the way through.

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