In this third part of the Somershill Manor Mysteries, we meet Oswald De Lacy again but this time in Venice. He’s staying there with his mother and her awful dog Hector at the house of an old acquaintance, Mr. Bearpark. They’re on their way to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage, but Venice is at war with Hungary and no ships are allowed to leave for the Promised Land. Oswald doesn’t really care about that as long as he doesn’t have to return to England, but even in Italy a shadow continues to haunt him. On the night of Carnivale, Oswald finds the corpse of a friend on his doorstep, and this discovery makes him a murder detective once again.
This series is easy to read and offers a nice 14th century setting. After two volumes set in Kent just after the great plague epidemic, we are now in dirty Venice with narrow streets and waterways where you can lose your way easily. Venice is the city of masks, not only during Carnivale. A lot of citizens have secrets to hide and this is something Oswald will quickly discover.
A nice change of scenery you might think but I missed Kent a lot. Oswald leaves something behind and is therefore not himself for almost the entire book. It’s interesting to read about his feelings and depression, but it were mainly the explanatory chapters that took place in England that fascinated me.
The murder mystery is not too complex, but contains enough dead ends and vivid characters that it continues to captivate. Although the noses are clearly pointing in one direction at the end, I still found the ending engrossing enough. There are some surprising elements to be found.
In the fourth part, Oswald returns to England and I am looking forward to that. Nice series, but this was not the best part. I do recommend to start with the first book ‘Plague land‘.
This is book 9/20 for ‘20 books of Summer‘.