Baroque Mystery #6
Beverly Graves Myers
Poisoned Pen Press
January 7, 2014/ ISBN 978-1464202087
Mystery / Historical-1745/ Venice, Italy
by LJ Roberts
Sentence: The one thing I never miss about the opera career
that had brought me fame and fortune is jolting from one engagement
to another in lumbering mail coaches, watching the roadside
vegetation unfold in brain-numbing boredom.
Tito Amato is determined to prove himself, to Maestro Torani,
as worthy of being the director of the Teatro San Marco. But
they are competing for their audience against another theater
with a more modern style of programming. When a composer presents
to Tito a glorious new opera, styled in the manner of Vivaldi,
Tito wants it to be the season opener. The opera house’s
patron agrees, but only if Tito can sign Angeletto, a spectacular
castrato singer from Naples, to sing. However, is the singer
truly a castrato, or a woman in disguise? What is the motive
for the brutal attack on Maestro Torani? It all leaves Tito
searching for answers.
What a fascinating look at the being-the-scenes wrangling,
politics and rivalries of a theater. Myers than takes all
those intricacies and incorporates them into the equally complex
layers of society and religion.
Oh, how helpful would have been a Cast of Characters. It did
become very confusing, at times, trying to remember who everyone
was and how they fit into the story. Even so, the characters
are fascinating. Tito is the narrator. For those who follow
the series, it is interesting to see how his life has evolved.
However, it’s of no matter for those who have not as
Myers does provide an adequate backstory both for Tito and
his wife, Liya. Their relationship adds an extra dimension
which brings particular depth to the book and her use of Tarot
and scrying set her apart.
The fact that Tito works with the head of investigation, Messer
Grande, adds realism to the story. Messer Grande is an interesting
character in this own right…”I was familiar with
the look that settled on Messer Grande’s face. Documents
were leaping from drawer to drawer in the cabinet that made
up his spectacular memory.”
The use of Vivaldi as a character was wonderfully done. It
is particularly interesting as he never actually appears in
the story. It was very nicely done.
Myers has a wonderful voice…”Venice never slept.
Well, perhaps you could argue that my city drowsed during
the worst of the summer heat, when the wealthy made their
annual villeggiatura to cooler mainland estates. But a deep,
snoring, head-buried in pillows sleep? Never.” It is
also very clear that she knows, and loves, music. Tito’s
complaint about the soprano’s style is one with which
I agree about many of today’s singers…”His
original tutor must have schooled him in nothing but embellishment,
so determined was Angeletto to add thrills and tremolos at
every opportunity. Neapolitans! They wouldn’t recognize
moderation if it smacked them across the fact and challenged
them to a duel.”
Whispers of Vivaldi is not all about music. There
is also a wonderful false path, an excellent plot twist and
heart-pounding suspense. I highly recommend it for lovers
of music and/or historical mysteries.
Reviews of other titles in this series
Deadly Mischief #5
of Vivaldi #6