2007: 166. The Thief of Venice

“Schoolgirls streamed out of the Scuola di Nostra Signora della Consolazioane.  They gathered in clots and clusters and hurried away, chattering and laughing.”

The Thief of Venice, Jane Langton

This book starts with an epigraph - “Many novels start with a funeral and end with a wedding,  This one begins with everything at the same time  - a robbery, a proposal of marriage, and a murder.” And it does - a jam-packed first few pages that set the scene for a mystery that is interlaced with the crowded canals of Venice.  The book has a killer sense of place, particularly for an American.  Langton must have lived some time in Venice, I think.

So many of her books contain love stories - people falling in love at first sight, lovers kept apart by various circumstances, only to fall into each others’ arms at the end.  This one has that, and has some lovers fraying apart as well, and worse its Homer and Mary, that indefatigable couple.  Even though it all works out in the end, the first time I read this book it stressed me out to no end.  Actually, Langton’s books are often a little stressful.  Even though you know it will work out well, she is good at ratcheting the tension on the scenarios she’s created, so that you dread what’s coming next.  Sometimes I have to put them down because I can’t bear what’s coming, but I always pick them back up and love how all the pieces fall into place!  

Recommended for: People who loved Venice, or who didn’t love Venice and want to see the non-touristy side


Date/Place Completed: 10/24/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Re-Read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017