With flawless period detail and a dapper English detective reminiscent of Lord Peter Wimsey, Kate Ross is charming fans of Anne Perry and Elizabeth George--and earning a loyal following of mystery readers eager to accompany Julian Kestrel from adventure to satisfying adventure. Traveling on the Continent with his ex-pickpocket valet, Kestrel finds himself caught up in the mysterious and murderous world of the opera. Four years ago, the Italian marquis Ludovico Malvezzi was murdered, and Orfeo, the young English tenor he had been training for a career on the glittering operatic stage, disappeared. As Kestral is irresistibly drawn into the baffling case, he encounters suspects at every turn: a runaway wife and her male soprano lover; a liberal nobleman at odds with Italy's Austrian overlords; a mocking Frenchman with perfect pitch; a beautiful, clever widow who haunts Kestrel's dreams; and the missing Orfeo, the penniless protg who just might be a political agent. And when the killer strikes again, Kestrel's quest for answers spirals into a crescendo of passion, danger, and music as he risks becoming a ruthless murderer's next victim.
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Milan, 1825. As the ascendant Austrians and the Bonapartist Carbonaris struggle for control of northern Italy, every box at La Scala is abuzz with the revelation that Marchese Lodovico Malvezzi's death four years ago was actually murder--a murder the marchese's family and friends concealed, with the help of the authorities, in order to prevent the presumed assassin's Carbonari cohorts, emboldened by their success, from further attacks. The suspect himself--an English singer called Orfeo, someone the marchese had taken on as a prot‚g‚--has been missing for four years, as have Orfeo's beloved, gardener's daughter Lucia Landi, and Antonio Farese, the servant to his blind singing teacher. Now that a deathbed confession to the deception has made the murder public knowledge, Julian Kestrel (Whom the Gods Love, 1995, etc.), passing through Milan with his pickpocket-turned- manservant Dipper, is eager to offer his services to the local commissario (who declines the offer with alacrity) and the marchese's beautiful, enigmatic widow Beatrice (who accepts the offer, though frustratingly refusing to accept Julian's attestations of love). The questions to be answered--who killed the marchese? was the motive politics, revenge, or blackmail? whatever became of Orfeo, and has he returned to the scene of the crime? which characters will turn out to be Bonapartists?-- guarantee an exceptionally generous unfolding, replete with dramatic episodes, false confessions, and explanations, explanations, explanations. Not a crossover novel, despite its length, but an authentic triple-decker mystery for admirers of P.D. James. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
Ross's historical mysteries featuring English dandy Julian Kestrel (e.g., Whom the Gods Love, LJ 4/1/95) have earned a loyal following. This fourth entry in the series moves Kestrel from his usual London haunts to Milan and moves Ross from trade paperback to hardcover status. While traveling the Continent with his friend, Dr. MacGregor, Kestrel reads of the recent uncovering of a four-year-old murder involving the aristocratic Malvezzi family and decides to try out his investigating skills once again. The victim was Lodovico Malvezzi, a Milanese marquis and famed music lover. Given his imperious manner, suspects are all to easy to find, especially among his family. Added to the mystery of his death are the disappearances of a talented musical protege of the marquis and a surly servant, various intrigues related to Italian politics, and rebellions. Kestrel is undaunted by these challenges but finds Malvezzi's beautiful young widow a dangerous distraction. While the plotting is not as tight as in previous novels, the final chapters are replete with enough revelations and twists to please Ross's fans and leave them looking forward to the next novel.?Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll., Davidson, N.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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