A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


Vengeance in Venice

A second murder mystery set in Venice by Philip Gwynne Jones

The Giardini della Biennale, which hosts the Venice arts festival, is in the Castello district
The Giardini della Biennale, which hosts the
Venice arts festival, is in the Castello district
Amateur sleuth Nathan Sutherland shows his compassionate side in Vengeance in Venice when he feels sorry for an artist who he meets at an exclusive event during the Venetian Biennale.

He senses Paul Considine, the artist, is nervous and vulnerable and feels even more sympathetic when he discovers that he has already received a scathing review from a Times art critic before the exhibition has even opened to the public.

That same critic, Gordon Blake-Hoyt, is present at the reception in the British pavilion in the Giardini della Biennale, to which Nathan has been invited in his role as honorary British Consul in Venice.

When the unpleasant GBH, as he is nicknamed, falls from a glass-floored corridor overlooking the exhibition and is decapitated by a vertical shard of glass that is part of the artworks on display, Nathan finds himself caught up in a murder mystery again. A postcard found in the victim’s pocket - of a painting by Artemesia Gentileschi showing Judith beheading Holofernes - indicates that the death was not just the result of a tragic accident.

Paul Considine is among the suspects but all Nathan’s instincts tell him that the artist is not the murderer and he sets out to try to prove it.

Nathan Sutherland returns in Vengeance in Venice
Nathan Sutherland returns
in Vengeance in Venice 
In theory, Nathan's unpaid job as honorary consul should be no more dangerous than helping British tourists who have lost their passports or become ill during their holidays, but as happened in The Venetian Game, Nathan can’t resist sleuthing and putting his own life and that of his friend, Dario, at risk. His paid job, as a freelance translator of diy manuals, clearly doesn’t provide him with enough excitement.

Nathan’s personal life has moved on since The Venetian Game and his friend, Federica, the art restorer, is now his partner. His lifestyle has become less chaotic as a result and he has become more domesticated and is enjoying cooking for two. But at one point he risks losing Federica by keeping her in the dark about his unofficial investigation.

The story is well told by Phillip Gwynne Jones against the beautiful backdrop of Venice in the early summer, as Nathan moves round the city by vaporetto and traghetto, pausing occasionally for Prosecco and cicchetti and savouring the art and architecture along the way.

Vengeance in Venice was published by Constable in 2018. 

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The Age of Doubt

An Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri

The mystery in The Age of Doubt begins with the crew of a yacht finding a body in a dinghy
The mystery in The Age of Doubt begins with
the crew of a yacht finding a body in a dinghy
A chance encounter with a strange young woman who Inspector Montalbano meets on the way to work one morning prompts him to visit the harbour authorities at Vigàta.

A yacht called the Vanna that the young woman said belonged to her aunt was due to sail in that afternoon but at the harbour he discovers it has been held up out at sea because of stormy weather.

Later in the day, a lieutenant from the harbour office gets in touch with Montalbano to tell him that the people on board the Vanna have called ahead to report that they have encountered a dinghy floating in the sea carrying the dead body of a man.

The crew have taken the dead body, which has a badly disfigured face, on board the yacht and they bring it into the harbour with them. The harbour physician, who Montalbano knows and likes, asks him to come down to look at the body with him. Despite trying to argue that the victim may have died in international waters, Montalbano soon finds himself in charge of a murder investigation.

The Inspector becomes suspicious of the owner of the yacht, a bad tempered middle aged woman, who denies all knowledge of the supposed niece he had met that morning. However, he later realises he has been conned by the strange young woman.

Camilleri's The Age of Doubt is published by Pan Macmillan
Camilleri's The Age of Doubt is
published by Pan Macmillan 
Montalbano soon finds himself embroiled in a puzzling mystery and at one stage has to sit down and writes a letter to himself to help him understand the various aspects of the case.

Everything is made even more chaotic by Catarella’s inability to understand people on the phone, but Montalbano continues to show remarkable patience with him.

He also has to deal with the Commissioner over a problem with paperwork on his desk that got wet during the stormy weather

Despite his long standing relationship with his girlfriend, Livia, he finds himself becoming dangerously besotted with a beautiful young woman who works at the harbour and he has to risk his own life to help her when events reach their dramatic conclusion.

The Age of Doubt - the 14th in the highly popular series - is a hectic but highly readable Montalbano mystery, laced with plenty of humour, in which as usual Camilleri keeps a few surprises up his sleeve until the end. 

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