From Publishers Weekly
Two Englishmen have met suspicious ends in Veniceone by gunshot, the other by drowning. That much is certain but nothing else is. Murder? Suicide? Accident? Another mystery is the anonymous notes sent to residents of a quiet English village, spreading the scandalous though false word of an affair between Derek Crowley and Gerda Porson. She is the wife of Crowley's business partner, the unspeakable Charles Porson, a tireless macho who adores handguns and the spanking-and-bondage ritual meted out by his bored, disgusted wife, who is in love only with his money. Was the drug-laced Bloody Mary intended for Porson? How to explain Derek's wife's penchant for masculine clothing? Who loaded the supposedly blank pistol in an amateur theatrical production? Long afterward, Jason Durling's brilliant deductive sleuthing will resolve the murders left unsolved by trhe Italian police and ignored by Scotland Yard; but he will come to great grief in his turn. Again Symons meets his own high standards: this tale is quickwitted, civilized, highly intelligent, sharply observed, complicated without being cluttered, and always in the firm control of a dextrous and accomplished storyteller. U.K. rights: William Heinemann; translation rights: Curtis Brown. January
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