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Painted Veil

by Beverle Graves Myers

In print for the first time in the UK, here is the triumphant second entry in Ms. Myers’ absorbing whodunit series. Set in the early years of 18th century Venice, it is as much a portrait of this doomed and decadent place as it is a jolly good read. The protagonist and narrator is castrato singer Tito Amato, who has been living it up a bit too much and has found himself demoted to second place. A visiting castrato called Il Florino, who has taken many cities by storm, is playing the lead role in a new opera, Cesare in Egitto, written to celebrate the marriage of the Doge’s daughter. But Tito has something else to think about because the scenery painter has gone missing and soon turns up dead in the canal. With the opera house under threat due to overspending, Tito hopes to impress everybody by finding out whodunit.

This is not a long book, but after reading it I felt that I had read one. There is so much to enjoy in here – the lush descriptions of Venice, a behind-the-scenes look at the opera and the world of castrati, the ghetto, love affairs, mysteries and, of course, the murder itself. All this is accomplished with only one viewpoint, but this is an advantage as we see everything through Tito’s observant eyes. He is a good choice for a narrator because he gives an outsider’s look at a world that seems almost impossibly glamorous, dangerous and profligate. If you like a well-paced book that leaves the reader wanting more, this is the series for you. This is one of the best series of historical crime novels in recent years.



The Book
Poisoned Pen Press
April 2007
Historical Crime - 1734, Venice, Italy
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007