Alvise Marangon (his name means his ancestors were carpenters), grew up in England, where his Venetian mother was an actress. Now he is a tourist guide in Venice as well as one of the city’s secret agents. This is Alvise’s second outing, and his passion for Pope’s translation of Homer is unabated. It is the late eighteenth-century, and his creator takes him everywhere in Venice, across the Lagoon, and to the islands, largely at the beck and call not of English visitors on their Grand Tour, but following the orders of the Messier Grande. The mystery at the beginning is never solved, but the question of who killed another of the agents informs the book throughout. Alvise is supported by a network of friends, and is a fine guide to his readers. Other threads are left hanging in ways that perhaps point to volume three. As historical crime fiction goes, Dowling’s sense of place and his ability to draw a variety of characters make this an engaging visit to La Serenissima.
Gregory Dowling, The Four Horsemen