Death in a Serene City

Edward Sklepowich, Author William Morrow & Company $18.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-688-09180-4
Subtitled A Novel of Venice , this debut mystery is distinguished by fully dimensioned characters and plentiful local color. When American writer Margaret Quinton leaps from her window into a Venetian canal, her ostensible suicide takes a back seat to the death of a poor washerwoman and the theft of a prized relic, the 1100-year-old body of Santa Teodora, from San Gabriele church. A disturbing visit from the washerwoman's son Carlo, who is the primary suspect in the theft, and his subsequent suicide prompt Urbino Macintyre to pursue the case, which the Italian police declare closed after discovering Carlo's body and the saint's remains. An American biographer of famous residents of Venice, Urbino enlists the aid of his British friend Barbara, a widowed contessa, as he begins to discover links between the washerwoman and Quinton in the latter's papers. Seeking information about the death of the washerwoman's daughter years before, Urbino makes his way from the parish to the glassblowers of Murano to the shuttered rooms of neighborhood widows and gossips. The intricate plot is steeped in particulars of Italian culture and custom. Discerning readers who enjoy a good puzzle will appreciate Urbino's quiet persistence and careful reasoning, and will look forward to his return. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-71636-4
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