A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


Death at La Fenice

The first Commissario Guido Brunetti story by Donna Leon

Donna Leon chose Venice’s world famous opera house, La Fenice, to be the main location for her first novel featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti.

The theatre was named La Fenice, the Phoenix, when it was built in the 1790s, to reflect its role in permitting an opera company to rise from the ashes after its previous theatre burnt down and it had become embroiled in a legal dispute.

But disaster struck in 1836 when La Fenice itself was destroyed by fire. However, it was quickly rebuilt and opened its doors again in 1837.

Approximately four years after Donna Leon’s first novel was published, La Fenice burnt down again in 1996, making the theatre front page news all over the world. It was rebuilt in the same style at a cost of more than 90 million euros and reopened seven years later.

A lot of Donna Leon’s first Brunetti novel takes place within the walls of the beautiful 19th century theatre that she would have visited during her early years in Venice.

The book centres on the horrific poisoning of a world famous conductor during a performance of La Traviata. It is a cleverly constructed plot and the novel shows Brunetti’s character developing, as he attempts to bring about justice for everyone involved.

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