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Cruel Music: A Baroque Mystery    by Beverle Graves Myers order for
Cruel Music
by Beverle Graves Myers
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Tito Amato, castrated at a young age to create a much sought after operatic voice, is summoned from 1740 Venice to Rome to sing at the bedside of a music-loving cardinal who will control the upcoming papal election.

Just home from a successful tour, Tito simply wants to relax and rest. But the cardinal has a very persuasive argument. Tito's brother is unfairly jailed for smuggling salt, a capitol offense in those days, punishable by death. Spy for the cardinal while singing and his brother shall go free.

Cruel Music is the third in this baroque mysteries series each one more captivating than the last. I found this one hard to put down. The location and time of this page-turning novel proves to be as much a character as the players. I could almost feel the waters of Venice's canals lapping at my feet. The streets of Rome come alive with the populace conducting their businesses. I've always been a history junkie and Cruel Music gives me my fix along with a very clever story line.

The plot then takes various turns as a young girl is murdered and Tito is implicated. The magnitude of electing a new pope almost takes a back seat to the intrigues which push this fast-paced, action-packed plot to its exciting ending.

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