When acclaimed novelist Donna Leon is not conjuring up tales of crime and corruption in Venice, or reveling in delicious cuisine, she is listening to music. For Leon, patron of conductor Alan Curtis and his celebrated orchestra Il Complesso Barocco, that usually means the work of her favorite composer, George Frideric Handel. Over the years, Leon has noticed that the great musician filled his operas with arias that make reference to animals; rich in symbolism, the perceived virtues and vices of the lion, bee, nightingale, snake, elephant, and tiger, among others, resonate in his works. In Handel’s Bestiary, Leon draws on her love of Handel and her expertise in medieval bestiaries illustrated collections of animal stories to assemble a bestiary of her own. Twelve chapters trace twelve animals through history, mythology, and the arias. Each is joined by whimsical original illustrations by German painter Michael Sowa. A fascinating, utterly original book, Handel’s Bestiary springs to life with Leon’s knowledge, passion, and wit.
In this “powerful” novel in the New York Times–bestselling series, an Italian police detective delves into two deaths and a dark era of history(The Times, London). When Commissario Guido Brunetti first meets her, Claudia Leonardo is merely one of his wife’s students. Intelligent and serious, she asks for his help in obtaining a pardon for a crime once committed by her now-dead grandfather. Brunetti thinks little of it—until Claudia is found dead. Unable to find any living relatives, he visits the elderly Austrian woman who was once Claudia’s grandfather’s lover and with whom Claudia was close—and is stunned by the extraordinary art collection she keeps in her otherwise modest apartment. When she, too, is murdered, Brunetti’s investigation uncovers shocking skeletons in the closet of Nazi collaboration that few in Italy want revealed . . . “[A] widely admired series.” —Chicago Tribune “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
The peace of a Venice library is shattered by the murder of a patron in the New York Times–bestselling series starring “a superb police detective” (Library Journal). A Seattle Times Best Mystery and Crime Novel of the Year 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 they check his credentials, it seems the American professor doesn’t exist. As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian who’d spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent or guilty. “Leon offers a finely drawn tale that encompasses theft, blackmail, emotional violence, and murder, as well as a rich array of characters [and] compellingly combines their workaday crime-solving with a detailed picture of a vanishing Venice.” —The Boston Globe “Above all, Brunetti is a careful reader, of people, of places, of situations, and he never stops at surface meanings. That’s why we bookish types adore him the way we do, and why this will likely be one of his most-loved adventures.” —Booklist, starred review
'How refreshing, to read a book about music written for a music lover and not a musicologist. In clear, lucid, entertaining prose, Jane Glover makes those of us who lack musical literacy better understand and appreciate Handel’s divinity.' - Donna Leon, author of Handel's Bestiary and the Inspector Brunetti mysteries Handel in London tells the story of a young German composer who in 1712, followed his princely master to London and would remain there for the rest of his life. That master would become King George II and the composer was George Frideric Handel. Handel, then still only twenty-seven and largely self-taught, would be at the heart of musical activity in London for the next four decades, composing masterpiece after masterpiece, whether the glorious coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest, operas such as Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo and Alcina or the great oratorios, culminating, of course, in Messiah. Here, Jane Glover, who has conducted Handel’s work in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, draws on her profound understanding of music and musicians to tell Handel’s story. It is a story of music-making and musicianship, of practices and practicalities, but also of courts and cabals, of theatrical rivalries and of eighteenth-century society. It is also, of course, the story of some of the most remarkable music ever written, music that has been played and sung, and loved, in this country – and throughout the world – for three hundred years.
In a city as ancient as Venice, myths and legends passed down from generation to generation record more than just love or murder. They are the storehouse of a city's mores, emblems of its identity. In Venetian Curiosities, acclaimed novelist Donna Leon recounts some of Venice's most intriguing tales: an elephant brought in for Carnival wreaks havoc upon the city before seeking refuge in a church, the city employs prostitutes in an attempt to prevent homosexuality, innocent men are mistakenly condemned to death, a gambler bets the family palazzo. In an introduction and seven essays, Leon offers enchanting details and astute insights into Venetian customs of the past and present. Venetian Curiosities is beautifully illustrated and, like Handel's Bestiary, it comes with a CD. Here the music is by Antonio Vivaldi, with tracks for each section of the book, expertly played by Il Complesso Barocco. With the splendid music, the delightful images, and the perceptive, amusing words of Donna Leon, Venetian Curiosities is a harmonious exploration of one of the world's most beloved cities.