Mystery Series Reviews | Death at La Fenice

Death at La Fenice coverDEATH AT LA FENICE
Donna Leon, Guido Brunetti #1

We travel to Italy for this next murder mystery, Death at La Fenice, and look into the world of opera and talented well-known musicians and the death of an internationally well-known conductor. Donna Leon describes Venice, the canals and waterways, and the life of the police detective, or commissario. Guido Brunetti, a man in his mid-forties, married and with a son and daughter, conducts the investigation into the death of Maestro Helmut Wellauer.

The overwhelming odor of almond points to the cause of death: poison by cyanide. The question of who would murder the maestro loomed over Brunetti, and the police commissario travels throughout Venice and beyond to interview those currently and previously associated with Wellauer, his main thrust of questioning being to find out about the man’s personal life.

Ms. Leon introduces the reader to all walks of life, including the talented and wealthy musicians of the opera to the formerly talented and formerly wealthy former musicians of the opera, all of whom could be prime suspects. She also weaves in a good glimpse of Brunetti’s personal life, introducing us to his wife, his two children, and his wealthy in-laws. She adeptly keeps the true identity of the person who took the life of the maestro a mystery – and why.

Next up: The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)