From Publishers Weekly
Set in 1730s Venice, Myers's second baroque mystery skillfully guides the reader past the dangers of fame to the nature of music and love, fulfilling the promise of her well-received debut, Interrupted Aria
(2004). At the Teatro San Marco, soprano castrato Tito Amato is struggling with his demotion to lesser roles when the strangled body of Luca Cavalieri, a talented if unscrupulous set designer and painter, turns up in a canal. Suspicion points to his lover, Liya Del'Vecchio, a "Jewess" whom Tito falls for on sight. When the opera company director asks Tito to investigate Cavalieri's murder, he's only too glad to comply. Accompanied by Augustus "Gussie" Rumbolt, a younger son of English nobility on the grand tour, he explores the first European ghetto. All foreigners are suspect and restricted in the fading sun of Venetian trading pre-eminence, but only Jews are locked up at night in the old ironworks. When a rabble-rousing, pseudonymous pamphlet accuses Liya's cousin of the murder and poisoning wells, Tito gets mixed up in necromancy and secret societies as well. Myers provides an insightful and tender look at how those who are different—castrati, women, Jews—were treated at the time, as well as a wonderful view of elegant, decadent, nothing-is-as-it-seems-from-behind-the-masque Venice.
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Myers' second Baroque mystery returns readers to eighteenth-century Venice, where castrato soprano Tito Amato is again preparing for an opera role at Teatro San Marco--but not the lead. After a bout of diva excess, Tito is replaced as the star by famous visiting castrato, Francesco Florio, an even bigger diva. Humbly taking responsibility for his own actions, Tito begins working hard to get his voice back in top shape while gracefully dodging the taunts of Florio. Meanwhile, scene-painter Luca Cavalieri goes missing, and theater-director Torani asks Tito to investigate. Jumping at the chance to restore the maestro's faith in him, Tito sets off with his new English friend, Gussie Rumbolt, to find Luca. Along the way, Myers exposes readers to a dark side of Venice: prejudice. Often a victim of ridicule himself, Tito's heart aches for the Jews, who are forced to live in a locked ghetto and treated with contempt. Like a grand opera, Myers' story transports readers to a fascinating world of glamour, deceit, intrigue, and passion. Bravo! Jenny McLarinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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