Guido Brunetti Menageries: Derivative Donna Leon Zoos for Fathers Day

by DerdriuMarriner

Guido Brunetti menageries, as derivative Donna Leon zoos, place the mystery series' domesticated and wild animals into Fathers Day farmscapes.

Earthly Remains, the series' 26th installment and 2017 release, allows the Commissioner to access island animals and readers to assemble Guido Brunetti menageries as derivative Donna Leon zoos for Fathers Day farmscapes.

Apartment living without domesticated animals in an island city of real pigeons and symbolic lions brings the Commissioner interactions with animals as ingredients in Venetian cuisine. Chiara, the younger of the Commissioner's two teen-aged children, considers cats, and a classmate whose family collects them as companionable pets, smelly in Death and Judgment. Commissario Guido Brunetti delights in demanding back and forth with a shop's mynah bird Ciao! Come ti stai? (Hi! How are you?) in A Noble Radiance.

Donna Leon exposes her Commissioner to Marcus Tullius Cicero's (Jan. 3, 106 B.C.-Dec. 7, 43 B.C.) private and public crimes and his animals to toxic wastes.




Venice's Piazza San Marco brings up associative images of a plethora of pigeons that easily outnumbers the famous square's multitude of tourists:

Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series reveals the abundant menageries that live and thrive, beyond tourist-enticing pigeons.
girl feeding wild pigeons in Piazza San Marco, Sept. 12, 2009
girl feeding wild pigeons in Piazza San Marco, Sept. 12, 2009


Amphibians, arachnids, birds, crustaceans, fish, insects, mammals, mollusks and reptiles flourish in the Metropolitan City of Venice's one namesake city and 43 comuni (municipalities and townships). 

Amphibians get the Commissioner's attention by generating calls from Mestre's and Sant'Erasmo's frog-friendly, marshy grounds and names for the Venetian dish coda di rospo (toad's tail). The Commissioner happens on arthropods (jointed feet), whose exterior skeletons, jointed appendages and segmented bodies harbor the arachnid (spider-like), crustacean (shell-bearing) and insect (notched) animal classes. Arachnids such as spiders and ticks and insects such as ants, bees, cockroaches, dung beetles, goshawk butterflies, mosquitoes, termites, wasps and woodworms invade the Commissioner's consciousness. 

Guido Brunetti menageries, as derivative Donna Leon zoos, jumble crabs, lobsters, shrimp and clams, cuttlefish, mussels, octopus, scallops, squid into crustacean- and mollusk-friendly Fathers Day farmscapes. 


Venetian Curiosities by Donna Leon; music by Antonio Vivaldi, with Riccardo Minasi conducting Il Complesso Barocco ~ Available now via Amazon

A tragic curiosity from Venice's past has an elephant hiding in a church from naval salutes and unsteady gangplanks, until hit by two cannonballs, at the end of year-long Carnival celebrations, 1818-1819.
Venetian Curiosities


The Commissioner knows of eel, flounder, salmon, sardines, sea bass, sole, swordfish, trout and tuna as edible fish whose populations lagoon-dumped toxic wastes keep in check. He lists cephalopods (head foot) such as seals and coelenterates (hollow intestines) such as coral and jellyfish among the sea animals linked to the Venetian lagoon. He mentions birds and mammals the most and, not as lizards and turtles but as snakes such as boa constrictors and pit vipers, reptiles the least. He notices cuckoos and larks in song; eagles in heraldry; gulls, herons and spoonbills around water; owls at night; and pigeons, sparrows and swallows in cities. 

Venetian cuisine offers chickens, ducks, geese, plovers, quails and turkeys to Guido Brunetti menageries, as derivative Donna Leon zoological gardens for edible Fathers Day avian farmscapes. 


The Rhinoceros by Pietro Longhi ~ Available now via Amazon

Pietro Longhi's painting introduces, at a Venice stop in 1751, Clara (1738?-April 14, 1758), Indian rhinoceros on European tour through owner Douwe Jansz Mout van der Meer (April 12, 1704-1775), from July 22, 1741, until her death in London, England.
The Rhinoceros by Pietro Longhi - 21" x 26" Framed Premium Canvas P...


Mammals predominate in the Commissioner's observations of bats, long-furred foxes, horses, lemmings, mink, monkeys, rabbits and rats and of beagle, German Shepherd, husky and spaniel dogs.

The Commissioner queues up cows, goats, pigs and sheep as mammalian sources of beef and steak, of cheeses, of ham, pork and sausage and of veal. He recalls an elephant, routed by Carnival salvos and rickety gangplanks, receiving two cannonballs March 15, 1819, inside Sant'Antonin's (Saint Anthony, Aug. 15, 1195-June 13, 1231). A rhinoceros serves as another Venetian curiosity by standing for portraitist Pietro Longhi (Nov. 15, 1701-May 8, 1785) and suffering a split horn during Venetian tours. 

Guido Brunetti menageries, as derivative Donna Leon zoological gardens, transform animals in the Commissioner's life into Fathers Day farmscapes the third Sunday in June and year-round. 


Earthly Remains by Donna Leon ~ Available now via Amazon

Toxic wastes jeopardize the Venetian lagoon's animals, plants and waters off Sant'Erasmo, fresh market island for Venice, in author Donna Leon's 26th installment of the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series.
Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery #26



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


On the Good Life by Marcus Tullius Cicero ~ Available now via Amazon

Mystery writer Donna Leon's Commissioner knows of killing and lying as respectively public and private crimes against moral goodness since he keeps a copy of Cicero's On the Good Life.
On the Good Life (Penguin Classics)

Sources Consulted


Cicero, Marcus Tullius. On the Good Life. Translated with an introduction by Michael Grant. Penguin Books Classics, 1971. 

Leon, Donna. Earthly Remains. New York NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017. 

Leon, Donna. Venetian Curiosities. With a Vivaldi CD by Il Complesso Barocco. New York NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012. 

Pietro Longhi: a cura di Adriano Mariuz, Giuseppe Pavanello, Giandomenico Romanelli. Milan, Italy: Mondadori Electa, 1993. 


Joy Alert postcard in Italian translates as Joy Alert: On Father's Day I always jump in puddles!

the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

original Joy Alert postcard in English

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine ~ In memoriam: Gusty inspired me to write 522 Wizzley pages and loved the treats that she received from my Amazon commissions.

As of this page on "Guido Brunetti Menageries," my 524th Wizzley, Rennie and Rosy mew their thanks to readers of this page and hope our product selection interests you; they look forward to Amazon treats.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 05/14/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 05/07/2021

WriterArtist, Thank you for stopping by and talking about one of my favorite subjects: wildlife.
Donna Leon comes up with another Guido Brunetti mystery at the beginning of each spring. It's fascinating how many species she mentions and, as you notice, how many turn into long-term Venetian residents.
In this latest, Transient Desires, she tackles once again how pollution hurts people and water-world animals and plants.

WriterArtist on 05/07/2021

This is a celebration of animal and bird lovers. I have come across many such people who cannot afford a menagerie and yet they are out in the wild and in the city feeding and saving wild life. Venice seems to be full of life with not only humans but all kinds of friendly species who have made the city their home.

DerdriuMarriner on 08/19/2019

Tolovaj, Thank you for appreciating Venice.
Donna Leon's novels and her writings on music appeal to me because she's accurate in her descriptions -- and took the time to become fluent in Italian and Venetian -- of the watery wonderland that is La bella Venezia.
I find it charming that Pietro Longhi chose to depict Clara the Indian rhinoceros (1738-April 14, 1758) during the historic moment of her losing her horn in Venice.

Tolovaj on 08/18/2019

Thanks for these lovely sparklings from one of the most romantic cities in the world (despite the overload of tourists). A rhinoceros was a total surprise to me!

sandyspider on 07/29/2018

As always an educational and informed article I really enjoyed seeing the The Rhinoceros by Pietro. Longhi

DerdriuMarriner on 06/15/2017

blackspanielgallery, Yes, I realize that the birds and sealife are realistic renditions of the Metropolitan City of Venice's wildlife even though boa constrictors, elephants, pit vipers and rhinoceroses are not. My hypothetical, imaginary menagery merely unites all the animals that Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti references, as character comparisons (someone being like a snake) or as Venetian icons (eagles, lion of San Marco), as Venetian inhabitants or, in the case of the elephant and the rhinoceros, as Venetian visitors.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/15/2017

Veronica, Thank you for appreciating my Maine Coon kittycat, Augusta, nicknamed Gusty and Gusty-Gus (in honor of Mark Wahlberg's career as Marky Mark in his pre-acting days), and her companions Randall known as Rennie and Rose Aurora known as Rosy.
Yes, I've been, which is why I appreciate Donna Leon's authentic depiction of Venice as the buildings, canals and streets really are.

blackspanielgallery on 06/09/2017

I can see how birds and sealife might be natural, but some of these would be curiosities in an island setting like Venice.

Veronica on 06/09/2017

What a coincidence! my next door neighbour has recently bought a Maine-Coon; I had never heard of one before and now you post this lovely tribute.

Anything to do with Venice is wonderful for me. You have chosen lovely images . Have you ever been ?

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