Novelist David Hewson brings Byzantine and dreamlike Venice vividly to life in this dark and deftly plotted mystery that hearkens back to the spellbinding tales of Donna Leon and M. R. James.
For as long as she can remember, Teresa Lupo has envied her aunt Sofia. After all, she is everything Teresa is not: beautiful, adventurous, wildly creative. While Sofia enjoyed passionate love affairs and traveled the world, thoughtful, methodical Teresa stayed close to home, working her way through the civil-service system to become Rome’s senior police forensic specialist. So when Sofia encounters “a few problems” at her new home in Venice, it is Teresa to whom she turns for help—only to vanish abruptly on the eve of Carnival. Teresa’s only clues to her aunt’s whereabouts are a mysterious letter, a bouquet of flowers, and a series of short stories by an unknown author, stories in which Sofia and Teresa inexplicably appear. The bizarre narratives create a complex puzzle, one Teresa can solve only by immersing herself in the art and history of Venice and the fantastic spectacle that is Carnival. But the deeper she ventures into the shadowy spirit of the festival, the more Teresa comes to realize that nothing in the magical city is as it seems.
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