A recent widow trying to save her niece from the clutches of a notorious playboy sees her fall victim to a deadlier menace.
Emma Streat is putting her life back together after the murder of her husband Lewis and the fire that destroyed their home (Without Warning, 2007). Her sons safely tucked away at first-rate colleges, she’s pondering: move or rebuild? Then she gets a frantic call from Cathy Riordan, assistant to her lovely, talented niece Vanessa, who tells her that the diva is ready to chuck her opera career and fly to Sardinia with race-car driver Seth Barzalon. Leaving her soulless Boston rental, Emma arrives in Venice in time to watch Vanessa diss her audience by leaving the palazzo in Barzalon’s company without greeting her admirers. Discouraged, Emma returns to the Hotel Dordona, where she finds the body of Vanessa’s accompanist Mark Dykstra dangling from the curtain cord. With the help of her friend Lord Andrew Rodale, Emma manages to spirit Vanessa out of Venice despite the interdiction of Commissario Filardi. But the day after their return to Boston, Vanessa falls ill with a virus no one can identify. Barzalon sends his pet researcher, Dr. Greg Atkins, to reassure Emma, but not even a trip to Rodale’s Wiltshire estate can persuade her that all will be well. The narrative rarely leaves Emma’s head, presenting only one other character at a time and revealing nothing that isn’t filtered through her perceptions.
Claustrophobic, even though it spans six time zones.