Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, but why has Francesco Pistocchi waited so long before going after the five Florentines who tried unsuccessfully to launch his career as a countertenor 35 years ago? The answer isn't clear even after the climactic confrontation between intrepid American researcher Cordelia Sinclair and vengeful Pistocchi -- who's been prevented from making a clean sweep of his tormentors only by the incursion of a second lunatic who seems to have wandered in from another book to doom one of them. Cordelia, who doesn't even get embroiled in the case until the story's run half its course -- when she arrives at a meeting with world-famous conductor Antonio Marchesi to discover that the evening isn't going to turn out as well as she'd expected -- provides a therapeutic complement to intuitive Inspector Carlo Arbati's detection. Sadly, the overinflated, unmysterious mystery could have used a more therapeutic touch itself. Prose ceremonious and inert, as you might have feared from literary scholar Hill's first foray into crime fiction.