Interrupted Aria

by Beverle Graves Myers, © 2003, Poisoned Pen Press, 2005 trade paper, the 1st Tito Amato mystery

the 45th in my review series of “forgotten” books

I bought this this thin trade mystery about the 1731 Venice opera scene while we were attending Left Coast Crime in Denver. I may have heard the author on a panel or perhaps I just noticed the book in the book room, I can’t recall now. After spending it’s time on the shelf I wanted something quick and different and plucked it from the TBR shelves.

Tito Amato has returned to Venice after years of voice training at an academy in Naples, where he had been sent after becoming a castrati. He has been hired by one of the leading opera theatres as a singer, and he and his fellow singer Felice have arrived the day before rehearsals are to begin. Felice will not be singing, his voice has “thickened” and is now unreliable, he will be looking for a job as a musician. Tito’s homecoming is less warm than he would have liked, his older sister is delighted to see him, but his father is cold and distant and the household is upset by the “fits” Tito’s 13 year-old younger sister started having several months before. Tito’s father is a music teacher at one of Venice’s music academies and makes a good salary, though the household seems very poor.

A few days after rehearsals begin, the female lead is poisoned and dies within minutes. Felice is accused of the crime and goes to prison to await the swift, fatal justice of the Inquisitors. Tito is sure his friend did not commit the crime and begins to question everyone in the theatre to try and find the true killer.

Venice is nicely portrayed in this first novel by Myers. While the plot is a little thin, the characterization is nicely done. This was a quick read, I saw many of the turning points coming far before the author revealed them. Those may be minor quibbles for the reader who enjoys this kind of mystery, I did and will look for the next in the series.

~  ~  ~  ~

Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews
at her own blog, and
posts a complete list of participating blogs.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery, reading, Review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Interrupted Aria

  1. Todd Mason says:

    It’s nearly as tough to do a fair-play mystery in a historical context as it is in a science-fictional or fantasied likewise…one has to expend story-space and effort recreating the world and easing the reader into some empathy, if not complete agreement, with the characters’ view of the world they inhabit. Not sure I’ve heard of Myers before…though her name is a typo waiting to happen. Hope the sequels don’t disappoint…if she was able to get them published…

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read at least one of her short stories featuring the same character and thought it was pretty good. There was a very good sense of time and place, I thought.

    Just checked her website. The story was “A Cutting Wind” in AHMM, April 2009.

  3. I like mysteries in foreign locales. This sounds good.

  4. Richard says:

    Todd, you’re right, good comment.

    Jeff, I haven’t read the story, I wonder if it was incorporated into this novel or is separate?

    George, you might enjoy it. I’ll send it if you like.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    How can you go wrong with the setting, the music and a mystery.

  6. Richard says:

    Exactly, Patti. A very atmospheric book.

  7. Thanks for the offer, Rick, but I’ll track it down.

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