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Transient Desires: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery (The Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries, 30) Paperback – March 15, 2022

4.4 out of 5 stars 5,391 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Transient Desires:

New York Times Bestseller
Named a Most Anticipated Book by
Crime Reads

“Over the course of 30 novels featuring her compassionate police detective, Commissario Guido Brunetti, the American-born author has seized on fundamental Venetian plagues like government corruption, illegal immigration and badly behaved tourists. Which is not to overlook such scourges as bureaucratic inertia, rampant nepotism and rising seas. In Transient Desires, Brunetti raises a judgmental eyebrow at the follies of youth . . . Leon has a lot to say in this book about prejudices, many of which declare themselves through accents . . . Needless to say, by venturing outside the comfort zone of his own prejudices, this deeply simpatico detective learns a lot about his city, his countrymen and himself. And so do we.”―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“The 30th entry in Donna Leon’s procedural series set in Venice, Italy, and starring police commissario Guido Brunetti. This latest outing finds Brunetti investigating an incident in which two injured women, victims of an apparent boat accident, were left unconscious at a hospital entrance . . . Brunetti enlists the assistance of two colleagues he’s never met: an initially wary coast-guard captain and a senior Carabinieri officer. Their ad hoc team pools resources to connect Borgato to crimes both fatal and soul-destroying.”―Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

“Brunetti is adept at navigating, literally, the canals of Venice and, figuratively, the treacherous waters of government bureaucracy and office intrigue. He’s also thoroughly devoted to his wife and kids, who are quick to offer smart, somewhat cheeky advice (and excellent meals). And he remains in love with Venice despite the ruinous changes wrought by centuries of visitors to his native city.”―Adam Woog, Seattle Times

“In the course of things, Leon as usual allows us time to absorb plenty of touristy news about little known parts of Venice; she’s particularly enlightening this time out on the subject of the city’s Giudeca neighbourhood. But it’s Brunetti’s sorting through the true narrative horror he’s forced to deal with that produces the book’s most ghastly surprise, unfolding under the Commissario’s unassumingly triumphant crime-solving.”―Jack Batten, Toronto Star

“Why would two young men dump two injured American girls outside a hospital in the middle of the night and then disappear? This is the question facing Commissario Guido Brunetti in a tricky case that requires the help of the Carabinieri and the Guardia Costiera to solve. What the Venetian detective and his colleagues eventually discover is genuinely horrific. The climax is nothing less than a trip―across the laguna―into the heart of darkness . . . Leon’s special skill is to splice glimpses of la dolce vita with acute analysis of moral and ethical dilemmas . . . The series that has shadowed Brunetti for three decades is an epic achievement―in its own way quite the equal of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time.”―Mark Sanderson, Times (UK)

“This highly atmospheric, leisurely paced mystery will allow longtime fans to fall in love with Venice all over again . . . New readers will be able to discover the series here, and look forward to a long backlist. Brunetti continues to delight.”Library Journal

“In her thirtieth mystery featuring Venetian policeman Commissario Guido Brunetti, Donna Leon once again invites us to be a part of this charismatic character’s world and family as he goes about solving a crime on the bustling and intriguing Venetian waterways . . . Fraught with danger . . . The suspense builds as we realize a good ending is not assured. Transient Desires packs a punch and stands out as one of Donna Leon’s best.”Reviewing the Evidence

“A splendid read. Through Brunetti’s observations and ruminations, the author weaves Venetian history, architecture, aromas, tastes, and snippets of daily life and family interactions into an immersive narrative.”BookPage

“Leon’s devoted audience may be shocked to realize that this latest Guido Brunetti novel is the thirtieth in the series, which only goes to show that sometimes abiding relationships never lose the shock of the new . . . Leon’s beloved series shows no signs of aging.”Booklist (starred review)

“Atmospheric . . . The action builds to a thrilling denouement involving coast guard boats and navy commandos.”Publishers Weekly

Praise for Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries:

“This endlessly enjoyable series, with its deep thoughts about justice and vengeance and charming classical allusions, can’t help making you smile.”―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“[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

“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

About the Author

Donna Leon is the author of the highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Donna Leon lived in Venice for many years and now divides her time between Venice and Switzerland.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Grove Press (March 15, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0802158188
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0802158185
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 5,391 ratings

About the author

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A New Yorker of Irish/Spanish descent, Donna Leon first went to Italy in 1965, returning regularly over the next decade or so while pursuing a career as an academic in the States and then later in Iran, China and finally Saudi Arabia. Leon has received both the CWA Macallon Silver Dagger for Fiction and the German Corrine Prize for her novels featuring Commisario Guido Brunetti. She lives in Venice.

Photo by Michiel Hendryckx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
5,391 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars I love Donna Leon detective books
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 9, 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous As Always
Reviewed in Canada on March 15, 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars "We'll take over now" said the soldier.
Reviewed in Canada on March 18, 2021
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Reviewed in Canada on March 15, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder on the Water
Reviewed in Canada on August 12, 2021