Victorian Venice is an ideal setting for the many tangled love stories encountered by Lady Emily during her new mystery, but the web of lies and betrayals does not compare to the Romeo and Juliet tale of Besina and Nicolò that the author interleaves between the more contemporary chapters. The story of their ill-fated love is much more compelling, in fact. The plot is straightforward enough, but Alexander pulls the solution out of thin air at the end, which is disappointing. Still, the exotic setting, awash in its romantic past, makes this a pleasant read.

Lady Emily Hargreaves and her husband Colin arrive in Venice to help Emily’s childhood rival, Emma, whose father-in-law has been murdered. Emma’s husband vanishes after the murder, taking with him a collection of rare manuscripts. Colin is soon on the trail of the missing count, while Emily is immersed in a Renaissance tale of feuding families that may provide the answer to a most puzzling mystery while solving the financial problems faced by Emma and her husband. (MINOTAUR, Oct., 320 pp., $24.99)
Reviewed by: 
Donna M. Carter