A former detective must unravel the secrets of Venetian high society when a friend asks her to investigate a series of thefts from his aristocratic uncle.
Alexandra “Alex” Quick left the London police force after a painful divorce and an even more devastating miscarriage. She’s created a new career for herself writing about art and compiling art books around various themes, from babies to travel. One day, 20-something Sandro, a family friend, asks Alex if she can discover who stole several valuable objects from the Venetian palazzo of his aristocratic uncle during the course of a party Sandro hosted there. It couldn’t be one of his rich and well-behaved friends, could it? Since Alex is going to Venice to write about the art scene, she agrees to do some unofficial sleuthing. But soon theft is followed by kidnapping, then murder, and Alex herself is in danger. Initially Alex seems a relatable character, acknowledging her cynical shell and offering bitterly humorous comments on strangers she sees. But as the plot bounces from one of the (too) many characters to another, the reader doesn’t feel any stronger connection with Alex. Baffling plotlines are irritating (at one point, while being held captive, Alex vomits; sentences later, she says she has a gag in her mouth), and there is little sustained suspense.
The best character in the novel is the beguiling city of Venice, but it’s doubtful you would want Moody's detective as your companion on your trip.