Lead Review

  • Book: Venetian Gothic
  • Location: Venice
  • Author: Philip Gwynne Jones

Review Author: tripfiction

Location

Content

This is no. 4 in the Venice series, featuring Honorary British Consul, Nathan Sutherland, and it can be read as a stand alone!

Who knew that Sant’Ariano existed? It is the bone island where, in years gone by, the older bones of dead Venetians, buried on Cemetery Island (San Michele), got moved to make way for new bodies. No-one is allowed to drop anchor there, but it is a great backdrop for death and mayhem! It is not far from Torcello.

Nathan Sutherland happens to be on San Michele when it is discovered that the tomb of a young boy, drowned several decades ago, is actually empty. The dead boy was part British, and thus Nathan has to get involved (as he is the Honorary British Consul). He starts to investigate and has to deal with another dead British tourist who either fell into the Lagoon (it is after all November and the boardwalks can be very slick with rain) or was pushed – perhaps there is more to his death than meets the eye. A reporter is sniffing around who seems determined to dredge up the past; and Sutherland gets involved with a well-to-do Venetian family, who have a wealth of secrets. The scene is set for a great mystery that takes the reader around Venice.

You can tell that the author knows the city really well and you can imagine he is simply portraying parts of his own everyday life. He goes to the Rialto fish market and carefully chooses his fish from his chosen vendor. Sutherland frequents The Magical Brazilian Café, which is modelled on a real establishment – Caffè Brasilia.

He then takes his purchases home and cooks up a storm with tomatoes and garlic and you can almost smell the wonderful aromas coming off the page. The cat, Gramsci incidentally, turns his nose up at the fish and asserts his position in other ways!

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