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Painted Veil

By Beverle Graves Myers

    Beverle Graves Myers wrapped her superb debut novel featuring 18th century Venetian castrato singer Tito Amato around Tito's brilliant professional debut. This is her follow-up and even better.

   The follow-up to Tito's own debut is a bit less triumphant. Too much indulgence in the trappings of stardom over dedication to the practice that made him a star has relegated him to a secondary role in the latest opera. Tito's vow to reform includes a decision to be as co-operative as possible in hopes of regaining everyone's trust, making it easy for the maestro to push him into investigating a scene painter's ill-timed disappearance. The painter does reappear, but dead, a murder victim, with reason to believe someone associated with the opera is responsible. The search for who killed him and why sends Tito ranging through the many layers of 18th century Venice for answers: from the Jewish ghetto (named for the geto or iron-foundry that once stood there) through a charlatan's mystical secret society, to the secretly crumbling ruin behind a nobleman's desperate status-saving façade.

    Ms. Myers writes fast paced, atmospheric stories full of memorable characters: compelling, lose-yourself-in-this-one reading. They're also an historical mystery fan's delight, providing a well-illuminated entrance into a memorable, vivid, but long gone world, brought to very personal life through the eyes of her appealing hero: The core of Tito's world may be his music, but he's also a passionate and knowledgeable observer of his Venetian home, taking the reader along with him as he travels through its many worlds - one moment settling into a working class tavern initiating an unlikely friendship with the Englishman whose pocket he has just saved from being picked, the next caught up in the ethereal beauty of his own voice twinned with his rival's performing music fit for the angels. Highly recommended.

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
March 2005
Historical Crime [1734 Venice]
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The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2005
© 2005