A good first novel of a shy modern researcher, long overdue to finish her dissertation, and her do-or-die visit to Venice to do final work. Romance and intrigue pile up almost at once, but the modern action is highlighted by well-drawn visits to the life of the little-known courtesan the young American researches. A possibly sly academic helps to muddle the plot. This author will, without much doubt, go places. I'm waiting for the next work, hopefully still full of sexy Italians! A 4.