15.9.14

THE DEVIL IN MUSIC, by Kate Ross

3/series. Filled with musical references, this elegant book may not appeal as much as others in this too-short series. But it does take place on Lake Como, so there are compensations. Set in 1820's in a northern-Italy historic villa, the four year old murder of an imperious Italian nobleman has just come to light. Under the tight control of the Austrian Empire, insurgent unrest had prompted the military to keep the murder quiet. Now, the enraged family wants the perpetrator found. They already know who he is: a young English tenor named Orfeo, who was being groomed for stardom by the nobleman. But nobody has ever seen Orfeo. Click below to read on...
The inspector in charge, the worst kind of political appointee, can fabricate any scenario to entrap those involved. Enter noted Regency dandy Julian Kestrel and his valet, the former pickpocket Dipper. On a European vacation, Kestrel is drawn back to Italy, and volunteers to help the family find the accused. In the villa is an odd lot of people, including the reigning marchesa, a disgraced wife of the new marchese (and her lover, a castrato). The plot is intricate and moves with a ponderous life of its own, and the climactic scenes(s) are gripping. Still, it isn't my favorite of the series. It's a 4, and was nominated for an Agatha Award.
Sadly, the author died too early, and her marvelous series is far too short.
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