Review: A Death in the Venetian Quarter

Alan Gordon’s is one of a series of mysteries set around 1200 AD and based on characters from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The main characters are jesters who belong to the Fool’s Guild, who in this particular novel attempt to solve a murder and prevent the fall of Constantinople.

Judging the book by its cover like I always do, I picked it up at my favorite bookstore, 2nd Street Books in Osceola, Missouri. I really enjoyed the book (I read it all in a weekend). The most surprising thing about that is that I almost gave up on just a few chapters in, for two reasons:

  1. The first chapter introduces several characters with Greek, Italian, and other foreign names–and some of the characters have three names, depending on the crowd they are with (much like Aragorn / Strider / Elessar).
  2. In chapter 4 the protagonist’s wife takes over the narrative, and then in chapter 5 it is picked up again by the protagonist–without any clue to the reader.

But I’m glad I stuck it out. The book was excellent, and I look forward to tracking down the rest of the series.

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