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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