Today, we will be reviewing the third book in the Detective Commissario Brunetti series, Dressed for Death by Donna Leon. A crime has been committed in Venice and Brunetti must solve it and bring justice to the victim. Keep reading for a short summary and if you should read this novel!
Dressed for Death: Summary
Guido Brunetti is looking forward to going on vacation with his family and escaping the Venice summer heat. But a gruesome murder of a man dressed in women’s clothing is found. The face is beaten beyond recognition. Brunetti is assigned the case and has to put off his trip until he solves the case.
With little to go on, Brunetti and the police visit countless people that may have known the person based off a sketch. An encounter with a famous lawyer in an apartment makes Brunetti wonder exactly what is going on. Was this just another murder or is something bigger at play?
Brunetti receives a phone call from one of the people he interviewed earlier in the week. They want to meet late at night in a deserted place. Brunetti smells a trap but decides to take the risk and takes precaution. But things go astray and another person is killed.
Who is the murdered victim and why was his face beaten beyond recognition? What does the lawyer have to do with the murder? And what are the perpetrators trying to cover up? It is up to Brunetti to solve this mystery and bring the murdered victims the justice they deserve.
Just like the previous two novels, this novel is hard to put down once you start reading it. Unlike the other two novels, this one doesn’t include much of Brunetti’s family as they are away on vacation for most of the book. That does change the atmosphere as Brunetti’s love for his wife and children are a big part of the series.
The murder is an interesting one as Brunetti dives into the world of transvestites. Brunetti comes to face with his prejudices while solving the case. What I love about these books is that Leon doesn’t try to trip you up and make it a complicated murder. Just as Brunetti sees the evidence, so do we. Trying to solve the crime as you read along makes the novel a lot more fun.
New characters are introduced and they play a big part. We see Brunetti in his element in this novel as he keeps digging for clues and making breakthroughs through sheer determination. Brunetti might not be eccentric or have a giant mustache that draws attention to him. But that is how he prefers things to be. His only goal is to solve the case and punish the people responsible, no matter how powerful they are.
Leon picks up where she left on book two and doesn’t miss a beat. Even when Brunetti’s family is away, Leon is still able to draw us in with various characters and a thrilling murder mystery. Dressed for Death is a great installment to the series and it is a book I recommend to fans of detective novels.