If you’ve never read a Tito Amato mystery novel,
then you are surely in for a pleasant surprise.
Whispers of Vivaldi by Beverle Graves Myers
Back Cover Blurb
Venice, 1745—an age of reckless pleasures, playful artifice, and baroque excess. An accident has reduced Tito Amato’s glorious singing voice to a husky croak. A tragedy— but also an opportunity. The once celebrated male soprano is now determined to prove himself as a director. With the theater losing subscribers to a rival company headed by an unscrupulous impresario, San Marco’s Maestro Torani charges Tito with locating the perfect opera to fill the seats in time for the opening of Carnival.
Surprisingly, a second-rate composer provides the very thing—an opera so replete with gorgeous melodies the public speculates it was written by the late Antonio Vivaldi. Even more disconcerting are the rumors swirling around Angeletto, a male soprano imported from Naples to sing the lead. Is the singer truly a castrato or a female soprano engaging in a daring but lucrative masquerade?
Both matters lead the perplexed Tito into dangerous waters that turn murderous when Maestro Torani undergoes a series of increasingly vicious attacks ending in his death. And Tito is the prime suspect. His own life as well as the future of Teatro San Marco now depend on his skills as a sleuth….
If you’ve never read a Tito Amato mystery novel, then you are surely in for a pleasant surprise. With its stunning cover, the story is wonderfully complex with plenty of intrigue, betrayal, innuendo, and murder. Oh, and did I mention the wonderful setting of Venice?
The story centers around the famous Teatro San Marco, Venice's premier opera house, which is struggling to keep its doors open. A rival company has opened and is gaining fame and popularity with opera goers who are quickly abandoning the Teatro San Marco. Desperate to keep its doors open, Tito Amato, a castrato, persuades the director to produce a newly discovered opera by the Great Vivaldi, a native son of Venice. Tito offers to travel to Milano to coax a promising young castrato singer with gaining fame to on the lead role. Much to Tito’s surprise, the singer agrees and follows him back to Venice. That’s when Tito discovers that the young male singer is really a woman. When the director of Teatro San Marco is discovered murdered, Tito becomes the main suspect and sets out to prove his innocence.
Because of my strong Veneto roots, and having been to Venice several times, I was truly impressed with the author’s knowledge and research of the Serenissima, its buildings, and history. She truly brought the story alive with rich descriptions that gave me a strong sense of being there. The main characters, especially Tito, are compelling and as big as life. And of course, the plot was simply enthralling. I definitely recommend this novel not only to lovers of Italian historical fiction, but to aficionados of wonderful, cozy mysteries. This is definitely a book to savour!
Reviewed by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer