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Interrupted Aria

By Beverle Graves Myers

     The exotic, doomed city-state that was 18th century Venice is a wonderful setting for novels of all kinds and ought (in my opinion) to be more used. If you feel the same, you will enjoy this tortuous tale of music, masks and murder. The protagonist, Tito Amato, has returned to his native city after many years of training in Naples to be a castrato singer. With him is his best friend, Felice, whose voice has failed, and he is in search of a cure. But all is not well - neither at home where Tito's younger sister is in the throes of some mental agony and his father hides his own secrets, not at his work in the opera. At the mercy of their aristocratic benefactor, he witnesses scenes between warring sopranos and rumblings of discontent. Soon there is a murder, and Tito has to find out whodunit before Felice is executed.

     Having the protagonist tell the tale does give the author only one viewpoint, but in this case, this is more than compensated for the immediacy of Tito's pacey telling. The lid is lifted on the exotic world of Venice and opera, but there is also the crime to be solved and other mysteries to get to the bottom of. Tito has to find himself a place in this society, which loves to hear him sing but despises him for his condition. An outsider who sees the inside makes an ideal narrator for this alien but fascinating society. In the wrong hands, this could be a gloomy tale, or overly dramatic without much substance, but it manages to work on several levels. The result is a highly compelling, and very enjoyable first novel, and hopefully part one of a series. I do so love a well paced book that leaves the reader wanting more, instead of wishing there had been less!

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
Historical Crime [1731, Venice]
More at US || UK


NOTE: Review 1

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005