Monday, July 20, 2009

Her Deadly Mischief-Beverle Graves Myers

Her Deadly Mischief
Beverle Graves Myers
Poisoned Pen, Sep 2009, $24.95
ISBN 9781590582336

In 1742 castrato Tito Amato and company are performing Rossini’s Armida at the Teatro San Marco. There is plenty of excitement in the air as this is opening night. However, as the opera is performed a frustrated Tito targets his voice at the rude spectators behind the closed curtained fourth-tier box owned by Alessio Pino, son of a master glassmaker. Tito feels better for a moment when the curtains open. However that nanosecond passes as a masked man is struggling with a woman before pushing her to her death.

The victim is popular but manipulative courtesan Zulietta Giardino, a conniving courtesan. Tito is the sole witness and explains to the Venetian constabulary head Messer Grand that he saw a very tall masked person push Zulietta. That night he tells his Jewish wife Liya, disowned by her family, what he witnessed. The married couple investigates as does Grand, but many diverse suspects surface including one who kidnaps their son.

The latest Baroque historical mystery (see THE IRON TONGUE OF MIDNIGHT, PAINTED VEIL, INTERRUPTED ARIA and CRUEL MUSIC) is a great tale that once again brings vibrantly to life mid eighteenth century Venice. Besides the music scene, readers obtain a perspective of the degree of anti-Semitism the lead couple faces including the opposite cutting sword of the ostracism from Liya’s Jewish family. The whodunit is cleverly devised to provide readers with an exciting mystery and a strong background that makes Venice circa 1742 seem real as virtuoso Beverle Graves Myers provides a tremendous historical.

Harriet Klausner

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