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The Venus of Salò

The Venus of Salò

Author(s): Ben Pastor

Location(s): North Italy

Genre(s): Historical, Mystery

Era(s): WW2

October 1944, in the Republic of Salò, a German puppet state in the north of Italy and the last fascist stronghold in the country. After months of ferocious fighting on the Gothic Line, Colonel Martin Bora of the Wehrmacht is handed a new, red-hot case. Transferred to the town of Salò on the shore of Lake Garda, he must investigate the theft of a precious painting of Venus by Titian, stolen with uncanny ease from a local residence. While Bora’s inquiry proceeds among many difficulties, discovering three dead bodies throws an even more sinister light on the scene. The victims are female, very beautiful, apparently dead by their own hand but in fact, elegantly murdered. Is it the work of a serial killer, or are the homicides somehow related to the stolen Venus? Why were intriguing clues left behind for Bora to find? And why is there an official attempt to make the investigator himself appear as the culprit? Caught in an unforeseeable web of events, hounded by the Gestapo (for years at his heels on the charge of anti-Nazi activities), hopelessly in love with an enigmatic, real-flesh “Venus,” Bora must resort to all his courage and ability – not only to solve the mystery and expose the perpetrator, but also, in a breathtaking crescendo, to try to save himself from the firing squad and secure an unlikely way out…

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