Radmila May has reviewed the first three books by Philip Gwynne Jones.
Published by Constable. 2 March 2017.
Published by Constable, 12 April 2018.
Meanwhile, Paul Considine has disappeared and there is evidence that he is unstable and on medication and that the beheading of GBH was deliberate. There is a very helpful art journalist, one Franscesco Nicoledi, but is he quite what he seems to be? And is there really a threat to the life of Signor Scarpa, curator of the Biennale? And indeed to Nathan himself? And is the charming Welsh artist, Gwenant Price, in some way involved? Once again Nathan’s friends and allies – Federica, Dario, Gheorghe, even Gramsci – are drawn into the tangle.
'The Venetian Masquerade'
Published by Constable, 4 April 2019
After his death his music was largely forgotten until the mid-twentieth century by which time, tragically, much of it was lost. But a substantial amount remains and is frequently performed, not just in Venice but all over the world. And it is to a performance at La Fenice, Venice’s great opera house, of one of Monteverdi’s three remaining operas, The Coronation of Nero and Poppaea, that Federica is taking Nathan on his birthday which is also the 450th birthday of the composer. The conductor is the famous Thomas Joshua Lockwood and it was expected that Poppaea would be sung by the legendary soprano, Isotta Baldan. However, she is indisposed and her part is taken by someone else. Nonetheless Nathan is enjoying it immensely. Until that is someone in the box opposite Nathan and Federica is stabbed. Apart from the dead man there had only been on other occupant of the box but Nathan had not seen him sufficiently clearly to be able to identify him although there had been something odd about his face – not quite human, Nathan thinks. However, the dead man, Matteo Zambon, was Italian, not British, and so no concern of Nathan’s. Except that he was carrying one of Nathan’s business cards and that makes Nathan curious. He discovers that Zambon was a professor at a musical academy and was looking into Monteverdi’s activities while in Venice, in particularly relating to an opera by the composer, The Rape of Proserpina, the libretto of which is extant but the entire score, apart from one trio for three voices, is lost. And it is while Nathan is digging all this out that he encounters both Isotta and Lockwood and they are most anxious to follow up his discoveries, particularly Lockwood who is obsessed by the hope of finding the lost score. They join forces with Nathan, but their search is complicated not only by the weather, which is cold and foggy with the likelihood of Aqua Alta (when the waters of the Venetian lagoon rise and flooding threatens), but by the enormous numbers of tourists who throng Venice for Carnevale, all in various forms of fancy dress and masks. And one of those, wearing an impenetrable beak-shaped mask, is stalking Nathan. But why? And who? And are Lockwood’s and Isotta’s motives as straightforward as they say they are?