Cast: The Contessa da Capo-Zendrini, wealthy, elegant English widow of an Italian count. Urbino Macintyre, well-named urbane, an expatriate American and author who effectively functions as amateur detective when the situation requires. And the magical city that is a character in herself - Venice. These play the principal parts in Edward Sklepowich's brilliant series of neo-classic mysteries. We visit Venice and the delightful pair again in this sixth episode.
Urbino has just returned from a long stay in Morocco, bringing with him a young painter named Habib. At their reunion, the first order of business is for the Contessa to bring her friend up on the latest gossip. Only after that does she enlist his help in a serious problem; she is being blackmailed, with the threat of a falsely scandalous revelation about her late husband.
Urbino soon finds that the answers he seeks seem to be centered in Burano, the little island town outside of the city proper that has for centuries been the center of Venetian lacemaking. Recently, the picturesque village has been discovered by expatriate European and British artists and writers, whose lunches and cocktail gatherings give Urbino excuses to visit Burano for his investigations. But it is not the chic invaders whose actions are questionable. Urbino is much more interested in Burano's native inhabitants, and in particular one old lace maker (who Habib insists has the evil eye), her surly son, and in Giorgio, the Contessa's boatman. When the old lace maker is murdered, and diplomatic but troubling suspicion touches the Contessa herself, and dark clouds gather around Habib, Urbino has to overcome a reluctance to dig deeper and face whatever unwelcome discoveries he makes.
In Deadly to the Sight, Sklepowich conjures up the spell of Venice, its beauty and its frightening dark alleys, and the color of Burano's island atmosphere. He wittily comments on a vivid canvas of characters --artists and artisans, aristocrats and their servants - an entire population swirling in the Mediterranean light and shadow of the Italian coast, providing opportunities for suspense and drama that will hold the reader from the first page.
About Edward Sklepowich
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Published February 19, 2002
by Minotaur Books.
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction.