The Girl of His Dreams : (Brunetti 17), Paperback Book

The Girl of His Dreams : (Brunetti 17) Paperback

Part of the Brunetti series

3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


One rainy morning Commissario Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello respond to an emergency call reporting a body floating near some steps on the Grand Canal.

Reaching down to pull it out, Brunetti's wrist is caught by the silkiness of golden hair, and he sees a small foot - together he and Vianello lift a dead girl from the water.

But, inconceivably, no one has reported a missing child, nor the theft of the gold jewellery that she carries.

Brunetti is drawn into a search not only for the cause of her death but also for her identity, her family, and for the secrets that people will keep in order to protect their children - be they innocent or guilty.

From the canals and palazzi of Venice to a gypsy encampment on the mainland, Brunetti struggles with institutional prejudice and entrenched criminality to try to unravel the fate of the dead child.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099517641

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

If only all authors could be as consistent in pleasing their readers. Another enjoyable, thoughtful story with Commissario Brunetti and the solid cast of characters that people his Venice. This story touched on political correctness, prejudices to stereotypes and our belief in the inviolable state of childhood and when it ends.I find that I now read the novels as much to find out about the progress of the Brunetti family and friends as to the mystery in the novel.Very enjoyable.

Review by

One of the features that run through all Donna Leon's Venetian crime novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti is Brunetti's (and presumably Leon's) somewhat jaundiced view of what justice looks like in modern Venice. In some cases this is because Brunetti's superiors are loathe to move against the gentry who have the protection of their name, scared to move against the Mafia or unwilling to accord civil rights to some underclass of (often immigrant) society. Brunetti is jarred by the contrast of the darkness of this society against the idyllic home life he leads and is frustrated at his inability to change things.The Girl of His Dreams is no exception to this overall pattern with the gypsies ("these days we're meant to call them Rom") acting as the disenfranchised underclass this time around. It feels to me as if there's a lot less detective work and a lot more social commentary than there were in the early books of the series - it's a full hundred pages before a body is found and the main investigation begins and it feels as if there are still a number of loose ends when the book comes to an end. It also felt as if the difference between Brunetti's home life and the twilight world in which he operates was being so strongly contrasted that it made his family time seem impossibly perfect.Despite these misgivings, I greatly enjoyed the book. The main reason for this is that Brunetti isn't really the main star of the story - the city of Venice is. Donna Leon is remarkably skilled at bringing the colour and vibrance of the city to life with a surprising economy of words. Few writers can evoke a location as vividly as she does Venice, and there are few better locations to inhabit, even if it's only for the duration of a short novel.

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