Grove Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Earthly Remains

A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

by Donna Leon

In the latest novel in the New York Times bestselling series, Brunetti’s retreat to a quiet island in the laguna is interrupted by a case of guilt and grief.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 336
  • Publication Date March 20, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2772-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 320
  • Publication Date April 04, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2647-4
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery novels set in Venice have won a multitude of fans for their insider’s portrayal of La Serenissima. From family meals to coffee bars, and from vaporetti rides to the homes and apartments of Venetians, the details and rhythms of everyday life are an integral part of this beloved series. But so are the suffocating corruption, the never-ending influx of tourists, and crimes big and small. Through it all, Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti has been an enduring figure. A good man who loves his family and his city, Brunetti is relentless in his pursuit of truth and some measure of justice.

In Earthly Remains, the twenty-sixth novel in this series, Brunetti’s endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break, needs to get away from the stifling problems of his work.

When Brunetti is granted leave from the Questura, his wife, Paola, suggests he stay at the villa of a relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’s Natural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house on Sant”Erasmo, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend.

Earthly Remains is quintessential Donna Leon, a powerful addition to this celebrated series.



“When she’s writing about her beloved Venice, Donna Leon can do no wrong. And Earthly Remains, her new mystery featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, is one of her best . . . [A] socially aware and intensely felt series . . . Leon . . . once again earn[s] the gratitude of her devoted readers.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“Donna Leon’s novels about Venetian detective Guido Brunetti never disappoint, and Earthly Remains is no exception . . . [A] gentle, elegiac tale.”—Adam Woog, Seattle Times (April’s Best Crime Fiction)

“As deftly as Leon weaves mysterious past and shocking present, this leisurely paced book’s greatest rewards, as is usually the case with her work, are reflective . . . [Brunetti] is, through thick and thin, great company—and a pretty good crime solver as well.”—Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune

“You become so wrapped up in these compelling characters, that I think you could go through all 25 [Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries] this summer . . . Each one is better than the last.”—Louise Erdrich, PBS Newshour

“Like the foregoing Guido Brunetti novels, Earthly Remains is a rewarding novel. The descriptions of the Venice laguna and its islands are enticing, the character of Guido is drawn with finer detail, and the tale it tells is of the most serious import.”—Washington Times

“Donna Leon introduced Commissario Guido Brunetti in 1992’s Death at La Fenice, and readers around the globe have been grateful ever since . . . [In] Earthly Remains . . . Leon masterfully weaves several plot threads and takes the reader through the labyrinth of Venetian life that has nothing do with sipping a cappuccino on the Piazza San Marco.”—Bay Area Reporter

“Reading Leon is like sitting down with old friends for the most satisfying of dinners, replete of course with well-chosen wines . . . Leon is a wonderful writer, the sentences as beautifully crafted as the puparin Casati’s father had long ago built. You feel the sodden heat of a Venetian summer, the crowds marching like ants across the Rialto Bridge, the sting of Guido’s sunburn and his rage at the corruption that ruins life for everybody. The Italians don’t know what they’re missing.”—Arts Desk

“Leon knows her world intimately, yet never overloads the reader with research. She shows only the tip of her iceberg, confident in the richness that lurks underneath. The cast is small but memorable. The square miles she covers are few but exploding with life—at least where humans have yet to quash it.”—Howard Shrier, National Post

“Leon’s multifaceted portrait of a man overburdened with human tragedy emerges forcefully here, as the lagoon itself, beautiful on the surface but containing the seeds of its own destruction, stands as a gripping metaphor for the bad choices and intractable dilemmas that infect us all . . . Leon[’s] . . . novels, with their unparalleled evocation of landscape and sensitivity to character, have attracted an audience that encompasses fiction readers of all kinds.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A vacation for your own soul.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Showcasing the stark contrast between Venice’s organic beauty and the decay that centuries of neglect and overindulgence have laid upon it, Earthly Remains delicately captures the tension that modern Italians face . . . Mystery readers who enjoy a little philosophical introspection are sure to love this latest entry in a delightful series perfect for fans of Henning Mankell or Louise Penny.”—Shelf Awareness

“Bestseller Leon’s enticing 26th Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery . . . Along the way to the poignant ending, Brunetti develops insights into nature and humankind’s failure to protect it, as well as the nature of guilt and its role in a man’s life.”—Publishers Weekly

“The 26th entry in Leon’s outstanding ‘Commissario Guido Brunetti’ series is one of her best . . . Fans of Leon’s early novels will find much to enjoy in the depictions of Venice and of the loving relationship between Brunetti and his family.”Library Journal

“Step into the gondola and glide along the romantic Venetial canals . . . Another extraordinary adventure with Commissario Brunetti.”—AudioFile

Earthly Remains, the 26th installment of this quietly beloved series, is the best of a wonderful lot . . . Leon’s character development and scene-setting are so strong and interesting that the story just moves right along without a bump or hitch . . . There are few reading joys that equal cracking the binding of a new Leon novel and experiencing another meeting with Brunetti . . . If you have not experienced this world, so exotic and yet so familiar, you can pick up literally any volume in the series and begin a comfortable entry into Brunetti’s Venice. Earthly Remains, however, would be a superlative place to start.”—BookReporter.com

“[Leon] delivers a twist on the mystery formula. Another great read, filled with the atmospheric delights of the region.”—Brenda Repland, Eyes on World Cultures


“We work in a profession that has consequences on the heart,” Signorina Elettra observed deadpan and then asked, “What happens now?”

“I’m going to take the weeks of medical leave the doctor gave me,” Brunetti said, aware that each time he said it he was more fully persuaded that it was the right—even the necessary—thing to do.

“And do what?” she inquired.

“Nothing. Read. Go to bed early. Get some exercise.” He’d added this last when he remembered that Paola had said there might be a boat at the house on Sant”Erasmo. Two weeks of rowing was nothing, he knew, but perhaps it would begin to get him back into shape. Even as he thought this, Brunetti knew he would not persist in any routine of rowing once he left the island, but it made him feel better to tell himself that he wanted to.

“Is there anything really wrong with you?” Signorina Elettra asked.

“I hope not,” was Brunetti’s cheerful reply.


A New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Top Ten Crime Novel of 2017
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
National Post Best Books of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Month (Mystery)