This book opens in 1996, when a dramatic fire destroys the historic Fenice opera house, a catastrophe for Venetians. Arriving three days after the fire, Berendt becomes a kind of detective--inquiring into the nature of life in this remarkable museum-city--while gradually revealing the truth about the fire. He introduces us to a rich cast of characters, Venetian and expatriate, in a tale full of atmosphere and surprise which reveals a world as finely drawn as a still-life painting. The fire and its aftermath serve as a leitmotif, adding elements of chaos, corruption, and crime and contributing to the ever-mounting suspense.
Penguin, 2005. ISBN: 9781594200588. 414 pp.Hardcover. Fine in a fine jacket.
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