Dressed for Death by Donna Leon

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Dressed for Death by Donna Leon was an Audible read for me and my first Commissario Brunetti novel.  It was narrated by Anna Fields, although this narration version is no longer available for purchase on Audible.  This is the third installment, there are to date twenty-five books, in the series and is on the cusp of a cozy and thriller.

Commissario Brunetti is a police officer in Venice sent to an outlying town to investigate the murder of a transvestite.  You can imagine the political and societal pressures involved right off the bat in Catholic Italy.  In the blazing summer heat Brunetti’s wife and children go on the intended family holiday to the mountains to escape the heat of Venice.  Brunetti stays behind to work the case and discover the truth behind the appearance.

To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about the characters in the book.  This probably has something to do with the narration.  Anna Fields is a perfectly fine narrator but her husky, faintly southern timbre just sounded off the entire novel.  I can’t place my finger on precisely why, but it felt more like a very detailed book report than the actual book.  As a result, I couldn’t tell you if the characters were shallow and stick figures, or had real depth to them.

Because this is one of those rare instances where narration totally influenced my reaction to the book as a whole, I’m giving it a three out of five stars.  I will read another book in the series, and actual book versus an audio book, to give the author a second chance. 

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