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Her Deadly Mischief : A Baroque Mystery
Venice, 1742. Tito Amato has regained his zest for performing and is once again singing lead roles at the Teatro San Marco. On opening night, the famous castrato has the entire audience entranced-except for one box with its scarlet curtains stubbornly drawn. Annoyed at being ignored, Tito aims the full force of his golden throat at the fourth-tier box. He is astounded when the curtains part and a woman tumbles over the railing.
The victim is Zulietta Giardino, a mischievous courtesan involved with a young glass maker. Did a wager over a rival courtesan's jewels spell Zulietta's death? Or did the motive involve sinister events in the glass factories of Murano?
Venice's Teatro San Marco opera house forms the dramatic backdrop for the start of Myers's absorbing fifth historical to feature castrato Tito Amato (after 2008's The Iron Tongue of Midnight). On the opening night of Torani's Armida, Tito has the audience in his thrall, except for the occupants of a fourth-tier box with its scarlet curtains drawn. Keen to attract their attention, Tito projects his voice in the direction of the closed box. Suddenly, the curtains part, and he sees a masked man struggling with a woman, later identified as Zulietta Giardino, a conniving courtesan. Pushed by her assailant, Zulietta falls to her death into the orchestra pit. Tito and his wife, Liya, who shares a similar background to Zulietta, take a personal interest in her case. Encouraged by Tito, Liya hesitantly returns to the Jewish ghetto of her childhood to investigate, and unexpectedly begins to reconcile with the family that once shunned her. As ever, Myers bring 18th-century Venice to vivid life. (Sept.)
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Poisoned Pen Press
August 31, 2009
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