Earthly Remains (Guido Brunetti Series #26)

Earthly Remains (Guido Brunetti Series #26)

by Donna Leon


$14.40 $16.00 Save 10% Current price is $14.4, Original price is $16. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, December 16


At the start of Earthly Remains, Commissario Guido Brunetti, confronted once more by someone of privilege avoiding censure, loses patience at work, and in the aftermath realizes that he needs a break and is granted leave from the Questura. His wife, Paola, urges him to spend time at a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he passes his nights reading Pliny’s Natural History and his days rowing with the villa’s caretaker, Davide Casati, who is seeking the reason his bee colonies in the laguna are suffering. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Casati goes missing following a sudden storm. Compelled to investigate, Brunetti sets aside his leave of absence to understand what happened to the man who has become his friend, in the process dredging up dark memories of an accident and cover-up years before. Earthly Remains is quintessential Donna Leon, a powerful addition to this enduring series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802127723
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Series: Guido Brunetti Series , #26
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 134,099
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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.


Venice, Italy

Date of Birth:

February 28, 1942

Place of Birth:

Montclair, New Jersey


B.A., 1964; M.A. 1969; postgraduate work in English literature

Read an Excerpt

Brunetti hurried after Casati, who was walking towards a rope tied to one of the stanchions. As he reached him, Brunetti looked into the water and saw floating a meter below them an unpainted puparin, the wood glowing in the sun. Closest kin to the gondola, though a bit shorter, the puparin was Brunetti's favorite rowing boat, responsive and light in the water; he had never seen a lovelier one than this. Even the cross board glowed in the light, almost as though Casati had given it a quick polish before he left the boat.

Casati set the suitcase on the riva and crouched down at the edge. For a moment, Brunetti thought he was going to jump down into the boat, as if a young man's stunt would show Brunetti who was the real boatman. Instead, Casati sat on the riva, put one hand, palm flat, on the pavement and hopped down into the boat. He steadied himself before reaching up towards the suitcase. Brunetti moved fast and handed it to him, sat on the riva, judged the distance, and stepped down onto the horizontal board that spanned the boat.

Involuntarily, it escaped Brunetti, "My God, she's beautiful." He couldn't stop his right hand from running along the top board that ran along the side, delighting in its cool smoothness. Looking back at Casati, he asked, "Who built her?"

"I did," he answered. "But that was a long time ago."

Brunetti said nothing in reply, busy studying the lines where the boards were invisibly caulked together, the hull's gentle curve to the right, the floor planking that showed no sign of moisture or dirt.

"Complimenti," Brunetti said, turning away to face forward. He heard noises from behind, then Casati asked him to haul in the rubber tire that served as a buffer between the side of the boat and the stone wall. When Brunetti turned again, he saw Casati pull in the second tire and set it on the bottom of the boat, next to a piece of iron grating standing upright against the side. Brunetti faced forward again and heard the slap of the mooring rope tossed to the bottom of the boat, and then the smooth noise of the oar slipping into the fórcola. A sudden motion pushed them away from the wall, and then he thought he heard Casati's oar slide into the water, and they were off.

All he heard after that was the soft rubbing of the oar in the curve of the fórcola, the hiss of water along the sides of the boat, and the occasional squeak of one of Casati's shoes as his weight shifted forwards or backwards. Brunetti gave himself to motion, glad of the passing breeze that tempered the savagery of the heat. He hadn't thought to bring a hat, and he had scoffed at Paola's insistence that he bring sun screen."

Brunetti had rowed since he was a boy, but he knew he had little to contribute to the smoothness of this passage. There was not the slightest suggestion of stop and go, of a point where the thrust of the oar changed force: it was a single forward motion, like a bird soaring on rising drafts of air, or a pair of skis descending a slope. It was a whish or a shuuh, as hard to describe as to hear, even in the midst of the silence of the laguna.

Brunetti turned his head to one side, then to the other, but there was only the soft, low hiss. He wanted to turn and look at Casati, as though by watching him row, he might store the motions away and copy them later, but he didn't want to shift his weight and thus change the balance of the boat, however minimally.

A fisherman stood on the riva, looking both bored and impatient. When he saw the puparin, he raised his pole in salutation to Casati, but the heat rendered him silent as a fish.

They reached the end of the island and turned eastward, following the shoreline past houses and abandoned fields. Even the turning had been effortless. Brunetti watched houses and trees glide past and only then did he realize how fast they were moving. He turned, then, to watch Casati row.

Seeing the perfect balance of his motion, back and forth, back and forth, hands effortlessly in control of the oar, Brunetti thought that no man his own age or younger would be able to row like this because he would spoil it by showing off. The drops from the blade hit the water almost invisibly before the oar dipped in and moved towards the back. His father had rowed like this.

This was perfection, Brunetti realized, as beautiful as any painting he had ever seen or voice he had ever heard.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Earthly Remains 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book along with her others
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The perfect weekend in venice. The best of Donna Leon. PR Giffin
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful character development and a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great atmospheric read.....the depth of the characters is fully developed...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My least favorite of the Brunetti series. Slow-moving and ponderous
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As usual another great book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.
rokinrev More than 1 year ago
“Do you think some of the things we do can never be forgiven?” In this, the 26th book in Donna Leon’s Commisario Brunetti series, Guido does something to stop another officer from doing something without thinking, the end of which allows him a chance to admit he’s tired of “fixing” things and he wants to run away.He accepts the offer to go stay at a villa owned by a relative of his wife’s, to have a good rest among his history books. Arriving at the villa, he makes friends with a former compatriot of his father, and, through him, learns to see bees in a different way while getting in some R+R. After a terrible storm, they find his friend, David’s, drown in the LaGuardia and Guido takes on the case of the death of his friend, not knowing the extent of the whole situation. In Commissaro Brunetti, Leo has developed an educated, intelligent character over the 25 prior books, and this one is no different. From a private situation, she reminds us of the idea that things, and people are strangely connected. This may be my first Donna Leon book, but I don’t believe it will be my last. 4/5
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
Commissario Guido Brunetti, in the midst of interrogating a suspect, suddenly collapses (intentionally, to prevent a colleague from committing a foolish act) by faking a heart attack. He is taken to the hospital, where no evidence of an attack is found, but just high blood pressure. While waiting for the results of tests, he concludes that he no longer enjoys his job, and after discussing it with his wife, and on the advice of the attending doctor, decides to go away from it all alone. His wife sets him up with a villa owned by a relative on an island in the lagoon, where he intends to rest, row and read. He rows with the caretaker, Davide Casati, whom he befriends. Incidentally, Casati and Brunetti’s father won regatta years before. All goes well until Casati is found drowned following a violent storm. Brunetti then undertakes to investigate the circumstances of Casati’s death to determine whether it was an accident or suicide, despite his self-imposed sabbatical. Along the way, the Commissario learns a lot about his friend, nature, and our failure to protect the environment, as well as the result of one’s actions during our lives. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Earthly Remains is another page-turner from Donna Leon -- I had a difficult time putting this book down once I started it. Donna Leon's characters bring the story to life like few other authors manage to do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a big let down. It seemed as if she didn't know how to finish the story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago