When Flavia Brollo, a young Venetian model, claims to be the daughter of the Conte da Capo-Zendrini-- the late husband of Urbino Macintyre's great friend Countess Barbara--Urbino (Death in a Serene City, 1990; Farewell to the Flesh, 1991) promises Barbara that he'll look into her story. But no sooner has Urbino begun to investigate Flavia's family--especially Flavia's aunt Violetta Volpi, Barbara's old enemy--than Flavia is discovered drowned, and the police write her death off as a suicide. Still, nagging questions remain. Who told Flavia that she was the Conte's daughter? Is the story true or not? What does Flavia's death have to do with the recent rape-murder of her friend Nicolina Ricci, and with Dal°'s painting The Birth of Liquid Desires, which Flavia had found so fascinating? As languidly chatty as Urbino's first two cases (the characters never tell the truth when a lie will provoke another scene later), while the gelato flows as freely as the Grand Canal--and a lot more freely than the intricate story.