Commissario Brunetti Series Book Guide and Order 

Donna Leon wrote the first Commissario Brunetti book in 1992 and introduced the world to Guido Brunetti. We will be looking at how Leon started this series, how many books it currently has, and in what we thought of the books that we have read so far! 

How the Commissario Brunetti Series Came to Be

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon crime novel Italy
Death at La Fenice book review

It all started when Leon came across a scene that she thought belonged in a book. She wrote the book titled Death at La Fenice in 8 months and put it away. Her friend persuaded she enter it in the Suntory Prize contest in Japan. Leon ended up winning the contest and so did the sequel Death in a Strange Country the following year. 

Who is Guido Brunetti? 

Guido Brunetti is an Italian detective in Venice and lives there with his wife and children. He is a commissario (detective superintendent) in the Italian State Police. Brunetti is the protagonist of the Commmissario Brunetti series. This is how the author described Brunetti in the first book:  

“A surprisingly neat man, tie carefully knotted, hair shorter than was the fashion; even his ears lay close to his head, as if reluctant to call attention to themselves. His clothing marked him as Italian. The cadence of his speech announced he was Venetian. His eyes were all policeman”. 

Recurring Characters 

Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon Guido Brunetti
Death in a Strange Country book review

There are a bunch of characters that are part of the Commissario Brunetti Series. You can see all of them below. 


  • Paola Falier – Guido Brunetti’s wife. She is a university lecture in English Literature (just like the author). 
  • Raffaele “Raffi” – their son 
  • Chiara – their daughter 
  • Orazio Falier – Brunetti’s father-in-law, Paola’s father who is wealthy and well-connected.  


  • Lorenzo Vianello – a detective sergeant and Brunetti’s assistant.  
  • Elettra Zorzi – secretary at the Questura that handles computer stuff and contacts.  
  • Giuseppe Patta- Vice-Questore at the station. He has an awkward relationship with Brunetti because Brunetti cares about justice while Patta cares about public opinion and his wealthy friends. 
  • Ettore Rizzardi – Medical Examiner. 

Book order 

There are 31 books in the series and Leon is still writing them. She releases one book per year and has done so since 1992.  

  • Death at La Fenice (1992) 
  • Death in a Strange Country (1993) 
  • The Anonymous Venetian (1994)  
  • A Venetian Reckoning (1995)  
  • Acqua Alta (1996)  
  • The Death of Faith (1997)  
  • A Noble Radiance (1997) 
  • Fatal Remedies (1999) 
  • Friends in High Places (2000) 
  • A Sea of Troubles (2001) 
  • Willful Behaviour (2002) 
  • Uniform Justice (2003) 
  • Doctored Evidence (2004) 
  • Blood from a Stone (2005) 
  • Through a Glass, Darkly (2006) 
  • Suffer the Little Children (2007) 
  • The Girl of His Dreams (2008) 
  • About Face (2009) 
  • A Question of Belief (2010) 
  • Drawing Conclusions (2011) 
  • Beastly Things (2012) 
  • The Golden Egg (2013) 
  • By Its Cover (2014) 
  • Falling in Love (2015) 
  • The Waters of Eternal Youth (2016) 
  • Earthly Remains (2017) 
  • The Temptation of Forgiveness (2018) 
  • Unto Us a Son Is Given (2019) 
  • Trace Elements (2020) 
  • Transient Desires (2021) 
  • Give Unto Others (2022)  
  • So Shall You Reap (2023) 

Television Show 

The books were adapted into a television show that has a total of 26 episodes. The plots and characters differ from the book and haven’t been released in the same order as the books. That may be because the books do well as stand-alone novels since they don’t rely much on previous novels.  


If you are interested in starting this series or have read one of the books and wanted to read more, then use this guide to continue your reading. Currently, we are also reading the series and will be linking to the articles as we finish each book.  

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