Her Deadly Mischief
Review: Castrato Tito Amato investigates a murder committed during one of his performances in Her Deadly Mischief, the fifth mystery in this Baroque series by Beverle Graves Myers.
The place is Venice. The year is 1742. Tito Amato is once again singing a leading role in Armida at the Teatro San Marco Opera House under the direction of Maestro Torani. It is the third week of the Carnevale so masking is in order. The disguises can be useful for a number of purposes: some illicit, some romantic, and some a bit risqué. Amato is in his element that night, at the top of his form. Every eye and spyglass is glued to him, and every ear attuned to his music. As he raised his eyes and voice, he notices that the owner of one of the boxes in the fourth tier has their curtains completely drawn. He thinks someone has shut him out, that someone is ignoring him. He aims his voice higher, and it seems to work. A woman's arm slides through the drawn drape. But then to his horror he sees she is struggling with a tall man wearing a mask. The man pushes her over the box's railing and she falls to her death on the floor of the pit. Amato is the only witness to the murder. But the man was masked, and he only saw his eyes staring down at him. Knowing that Amato is the only person that had seen the killer, and knowing that Amato likes to do a little sleuthing and solving a mystery that no one else cares, or dares, to investigate, the chief of Venice's police force, Messer Grande, enlists his help in trying to solve the mystery.
The box belongs to Alessio Pina, the son of a wealthy glass maker. Against his father's wishes, Alessio had planned to marry Zulietta Giardino, a Jewish prostitute who had left the ghetto, and move to the colonies in America. They were going to publicly show their love for each other by appearing together, in public, at the opera. But Alessio is delayed, and Zulietta is alone in the box when her killer confronted her.
The case is quite personal to Tito as he, too, has a Jewish wife and an adopted son, Titolino. And his wife's family has disowned her for marrying Tito. But as the singer becomes more involved in searching out clues, talking to both friends and enemies of the dead woman, and getting closer to the truth, the masked killer transfers his vengeance to Amato's loved ones.
The author brings to life the city of Venice, its canals, bright colors and dark streets, opulent opera houses and Jewish ghettos, and more. The murder plot is multi-faceted, holding the reader's attention throughout. The characters are delightful, notably Messer Grande, who, befitting his title, is a little larger than life. Her Deadly Mischief, with its first-rate mystery storyline that is coupled with some humor and romance, is highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Her Deadly Mischief.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Her Deadly Mischief for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Iron Tongue of Midnight
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), March 2008
ISBN-13: 9781590582329; ISBN-10: 1590582322
Location(s) referenced in Her Deadly Mischief: Venice, Italy
— ♦ —
Her Deadly Mischief by Beverle Graves Myers — A Tito Amato Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $24.95
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites