A Venetian Reckoning: Book Review

We will be continuing our journey as we read another book from the Commissario Brunett series by Donna Leon. The fourth novel in the series is titled A Venetian Reckoning. Keep reading for our thoughts on the novel and whether you should add it to your reading list! 

A Venetian Reckoning Summary 

A lorry crashes in the Italian Dolomites due to snow and a treacherous road. The cargo spills out and everyone is horrified by what they see. A few months later, an international lawyer us found dead on a intercity train.  

Commissario Guido Brunetti is assigned the case of the prominent lawyer’s death. The case is considered important because he was a friend of the mayor. Brunetti investigates the past of the lawyer and tries to figure out why anyone would want him dead.  

A Venetian Reckoning by Donna Leon
A Venetian Reckoning by Donna Leon

But more murders are committed, and everything may not be as it means. Cover ups, secret phone calls, conspiracies, and prostitutes may all be related to the deaths. Can Brunetti solve the murders and the horrible crimes that are being committed in broad daylight? 


The novel was released in the United States under the name Death and Judgment. First released in 1995, it continued the adventures of Brunetti as he tries to solve yet another crime. The novels are standalones so you don’t have to read the previous ones. But if you want to understand Brunetti as a character, then I recommend it. 

A big theme of the novels seems to be the crimes committed by the powerful. Brunetti is often unable to do much about them. He is only one person and his sense of justice makes him see it through as he learns just how corrupted the rich and powerful are.  

This novel is dark and is not an easy read. There are a few scenes that are horrible to read. But they are a reality for many which is why Leon made it a plot of the novel. The novel is almost 30 years old and while a lot has changed since then, a lot remains the same.  

A Venetian Reckoning


The writing style of Leon is what makes me come back to her novels. And while this novel was darker than her usual novels, it was still a great read. It is hard to believe there are over two dozen more books in the series to read but that is the goal! Happy reading 

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