Unto Us A Son Is Given

Unto Us A Son Is Given

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Your situation is always ambiguous, isn't it, Guido?", his father-in-law, Count Orazio Falier, observes of Donna Leon's soulful detective, Guido Brunetti, at the beginning of her superb 28th Brunetti novel, Unto Us A Son Is Given . "The world we live in makes that necessary," Brunetti presciently replies. Count Falier was urging his Venetian son-in-law to investigate, and preferably intervene in, the seemingly innocent plan of the Count's best friend, the elderly Gonzalo Rodríguez de Tejada, to adopt a much younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws this man would then be heir to Gonzalo's entire fortune, a prospect Gonzalo's friends find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why the old man, a close family friend, can't be allowed his pleasure in peace. And yet, what seems innocent on the Venetian surface can cause tsunamis beneath. Gonzalo unexpectedly, and literally, drops dead on the street, and one of his friends just arrived in Venice for the memorial service, is strangled in her hotel room--having earlier sent Gonzalo an email saying "We are the only ones who know you cannot do this," referring to the adoption. Now with an urgent case to solve, Brunetti reluctantly untangles the long-hidden mystery in Gonzalo's life that ultimately led to murder--a resolution that brings him way more pain than satisfaction. Once again, Donna Leon brilliantly plumbs the twists and turns of the human condition, reuniting us with some of crime fiction's most memorable and enduring characters.
Publisher: New York :, Atlantic Monthly Press,, 2019
Edition: First Grove Atlantic edition
ISBN: 9780802129116
Branch Call Number: FIC LEON D


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 19, 2019

Ah, Donna Leon has done it again...spending time with Commissario Guido Brunetti is always a pleasure! If you have never read a Brunetti Police Inspector book, this might not be a good one to read first. I have read them from #1 and I "know" Brunetti pretty well. So I really enjoyed the casually slow pace of this book. I noticed from some of the comments, not everyone enjoyed that pace. When the victim was murdered, near the end of the book, I suddenly realized who the murderer was. But I only had the motive somewhat right. Oh well. You can't win them all. I sincerely enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one.

Jun 16, 2019

Brunetti is always a pleasure, whether the subject is what his family is having to eat, or his walks in his beloved Venice. Sometimes the books begin with a call to a murder in the middle of the night. In others, the murder comes only very slowly. This entry in the series falls in the latter category. Guido's father-in-law calls him for a conversation about Orazio's best friend, who's Guido's daughter Chiara's godfather, so long known to, and loved by, the entire family. It matters to none of them that Gonzalo is gay. But that turns out to be the crux of the story, as Gonzalo proposes to adopt a much younger man as his son. By Italian law, because he's unmarried, on Gonzalo's death, all of his sizeable wealth will go directly to the adopted son. Brunetti's father-in-law wants him to talk Gonzalo out of his intention. Brunetti really doesn't want to, and doesn't consider it police business. However, when Gonzalo falls dead on the street, and his best woman friend is murdered in her hotel room when she comes from Spain to organize a small memorial service there for him, it becomes police business. With the help of Signorina Elletra, he solves the mystery, and arrests the murderer of Gonzalo's friend. True, we don't learn a lot about the murderer, but he has motive enough, and the interview between the two of them in Brunetti's office is as subtle and fascinating as anything in Leon's work.

Apr 28, 2019

Not one of her best. Meandering, vaguely unsatisfying. Seemed as if the action was almost an afterthought with the villain of the piece given short shrift in terms of character development.

Apr 19, 2019

The plot is simple: among aristocratic ,powerful Venetians,what should be done & why when an 85 year old gay best friend wants to legally will his art & wealth to a younger man. Sadly for 138 of 259 pages Donna Leon fills the chapters with musings about meddling, Roman emperors, Greek plays ,unconscious prejudices, family ties, aging and sons or daughters.Once the clinical social work meditations give way to 2 deaths, one natural, Commissario Brunetti begins to discover how crimes were done but insights into the the younger villain's background & psychology are brief compared to the older.

Mar 25, 2019

Unto Us a Son Is Given by Donna Leon is the 28th in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series but it easily reads as a standalone. Beautiful Venice is as much a part of this novel as Brunetti himself. Guido is approached by his father-in-law in the hope that he will discourage their mutual friend Gonzalo in his endeavour to adopt a much younger man as his son. The inheritance laws in Italy permit that this adoptee can then become heir to Gonzalo's entire fortune in the event of the old man's death. Guido sees nothing wrong with Gonzalo's plan but soon after, the old man collapses in the street and dies. It is at this point that the story becomes a mystery. I found that this book read more as a cozy than a police procedural. However, this takes nothing away from the enjoyment of this title. Although the action ramps up slowly, this novel packs quite a wallop. I look forward to reading other books by Donna Leon.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top