The #TFBookClub reads ‘Venetian Gothic’ set in Venice on The Day of the Dead

17th April 2020

Thank you for joining us as we read Venetian Gothic by Philip Gwynne Jones, an All Souls Day mystery set in VENICE (May/June 2020).

We hope you enjoy reading this Gothic mystery, set in bellissimo Venice.

Even the most beautiful city on earth has a dark side . . .

We will be chatting about the book throughout May and June 2020, so if you are reading it with us, please come and join the dialogue!

The #TFBookClub is your book club – we are here to help you discover new titles that will transport you to interesting locations via top literature for some exceptional #literarywanderlust.

As you read, please come and chat and share your thoughts in several ways:

  • Here on our dedicated blogpost, leave your thoughts in the Comments section below
  • On TWITTER using #TFBookClub
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  • On PINTEREST following this link 
  • And once you’ve turned the final page, we’d love it if you could write your own review, which you can do on using the Add A Review tab. Help us to build the #TFBookClub and the TripFiction website!


Andrew and Tina for the TripFiction Team

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  1. User: Rachel Hall

    Posted on: 27/05/2020 at 5:26 pm

    Well my copy has arrived today and I’ve dived in! Back soon with thoughts! Just wish I had the scenic Venetian backdrop instead of South London!


  2. User: lapsapchung

    Posted on: 26/05/2020 at 6:24 am

    Thank you for my copy of the book. I read it over the long weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve never been to Venice but could clearly picture the city thanks to the clear descriptions both outdoors and indoors, and found the map very helpful too.
    An excellent story, with great characters, particularly Nathan whose struggle with giving up smoking gave him a reality and vulnerability that I liked. I also liked his love of cooking and his Cat With Attitude.
    I loved the flow of the book, it was a real pleasure to read, one of those books I tend to read more slowly towards the end because I don’t want it to stop.


  3. User: Louise

    Posted on: 23/05/2020 at 12:45 pm

    Just got a copy of the book and looking forward to plunging into Venkce! Bit sidetracked by Hay Festival Digital right now though ….


  4. User: Rachel Hall

    Posted on: 20/05/2020 at 9:09 am

    My copy has not arrived yet (Tuesday 19th May). I will report when the book arrives and aim to read promptly. Thanks for your patience.


    1 Comment

    • User: andrewmorris51

      Posted on: 20/05/2020 at 9:43 am

      Hello Rachel.
      I’ve just messaged you…so sorry for the delay, and we’ll chase our publishing contact now. Hopefully the book will be with you very soon, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
      Many thanks for YOUR patience!


  5. User: Sara Hill

    Posted on: 12/05/2020 at 10:11 am

    I really enjoyed reading Venetian Gothic. I have visited Venice although obviously only as a tourist. It brought back happy memories of taking the vaporetta and exploring the very narrow streets.

    I thought Nathan Sutherland was a very likeable character and the descriptions of his home life with Federica and Gramsci the cat were fascinating. I also enjoyed reading about Nathan’s culinary skills. ( I too ate mushrooms on toast in Italy as a main dish ).
    The story unfolded slowly but I enjoyed the slow pace as the facts emerged with satisfactory twists.
    The characters were well rounded and I particularly liked Father Rayner, the tall priest. I was please to find that I understood the majority of the Italian words – I did not see the glossary until I had finished the book.
    I was interested to read ( on page 154) a reference to a pestilence that had killed a third of the citizens of Venice. Relevant to this day.
    If I am ever able to return to Venice I will try and visit some of the streets on the map, but not The Island of the Dead!


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 19/05/2020 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you for your review! Yes, using Italian words does make it feel real (and I didn’t pick up on the Glossary until I had finished the novel!). It’s interesting how “plagues” have had to be dealt with over the centuries….


  6. User: Lesley Morton-Evans

    Posted on: 10/05/2020 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you Trip Fiction for including me in the current BC selection.
    It was most definitely a good reading experience which helped me escape from these worrying times we are currently experiencing.
    Although categorised as a Crime Thriller by some, I found it a fun and lighthearted murder mystery, not too serious and undemanding.
    I particularly enjoyed the vivid descriptions of Venetian life, it’s food & culture. Spending approximately 4 months each year in Italy I could identify with the humour gently portrayed by the author by making reference to some of the Italian idiosyncratic behaviours. The various comments throughout the book mentioning either the drinking of or the making of the coffee made me smile. I love the Italian way of life but always feel anxious when Italian friends pop by for a coffee!
    It’s been some years since I last visited Venice and having now read Venetian Gothic, I hope to return when I am next able to be in Italy again. I now want to read Philip Gwynne Jones previous 3 novels featuring Nathan Sutherland as the British Honorary Consul.
    I enjoyed the plot and found the ending very satisfying. Thank you Trip Fiction and Philip Gwynne Jones for transporting me through the canals, architecture and the magic of Venice.
    Would I recommend this book ?
    Si certo !


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 19/05/2020 at 4:48 pm

      @lesley morton-evans
      How lovely that you can indeed travel to Italy… I wonder when you will be able to go again 🙁

      I am so glad you are motivated to pick up Philip’s previous titles! Here’s to Italian travel!!


  7. User: Bev

    Posted on: 07/05/2020 at 7:16 am

    I finished reading this book yesterday whilst sitting in the sun. The plot was slow to emerge and then seemed to reach a conclusion quickly. However, the enjoyment for me was in the drawing out of the characters, getting to know Nathan Sutherland, Fede and Gramsci. I liked the description of life and culture in Venice. The I haven’t visited Venice in November but did get a sense of the difference in climate and atmosphere to that in the other seasons.
    I loved Nathan’s wit and his cat, Gramsci scared me! I have visited Venice lots of times and know it reasonably well, I do wonder if this helped with my enjoyment of this book. What do other’s think?


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 10/05/2020 at 4:45 pm

      He is so good on writing about Venice, I felt that the cafe was really the author’s local, that he visited his own fish monger at the Rialto… with a nice engrossing story. And Gramsci, what a character (who doesn’t like fish!!!)


  8. User: Janine Phillips

    Posted on: 05/05/2020 at 1:38 pm

    Just finished, I enjoyed escaping to Venice. I found the plot a tad slow but still enjoyed the book.


  9. User: Helen Clayton

    Posted on: 03/05/2020 at 2:35 pm

    Venetian Gothic-perfect escapism with a likeable and decent central character (making a refreshing change!) in the form of Nathan Sutherland, honorary consul in Venice. A cast of memorable characters and of course the city always present and depicted by an author with intimate knowledge of the canals and byways. A series of novels that’s developed with unusual stories with a twist, sometimes a little dark and always with humour. Sorry to finish it and a sign of an enjoyable and immersive read is that feeling of #bookbereft. Loved it.


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 10/05/2020 at 4:47 pm

      I feel I have ‘been’ to Venice (prosecco or wine in hand, of course). Thank you for stopping by!


  10. User: tripfiction

    Posted on: 03/05/2020 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you for leaving your thoughts.. it sounds like you are having a leisurely trip to this wonderful city, the only way to travel at the moment!!


  11. User: tripfiction

    Posted on: 03/05/2020 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you so much for stopping by with your thoughts. Sometimes a slow book just doesn’t hit the nail on the head, I find it depends on my mood. Anyway, hope you had a bit of a trip away and enjoyed the Venice backdrop (got to travel somehow!!! 😉 )


  12. User: Melanie Daniels

    Posted on: 02/05/2020 at 4:08 pm

    I have just finished this book and have mixed feelings about it really. I enjoy crime thrillers but usually they are quite fast paced, real page turners with lots of twists and turns. Unfortunately, I found this novel to be quite slow. I found myself skim reading some pages and willing something to actually happen. Long periods of time passed without the plot progressing at all and I felt quite impatient with it really. I did enjoy the atmosphere of this novel, and I felt that it really conjured up the overall feel of Venice for me, however, it was just a little too slow for my liking.


  13. User: Bev

    Posted on: 01/05/2020 at 8:00 am

    I am struggling with my reading at the moment. Anyone else? I read a lot of books quickly at the start of lockdown. However, this is nothing to do with this lovely armchair travel to Venice. I know Venice reasonably well and I am transported back with this book. I love the line. Venice is described as ‘nice’.
    ‘My hand paused in the act of raising my spritz. In all my years in Venice, I had never, ever heard anyone describe the city as merely ‘nice’.
    I am enjoying this book immensely and taking it slowly is allowing me to bring back memories of my times in Venice and really getting to know the characters.