Murder Most Serene

In the last days of the Venetian Republic, the successive wives of Count Alvise Lanzi suffer mysterious, agonizing deaths. "Murder Most Serene" offers a cruel portrait of a beautiful but corrupt city-state and its equally extravagant and corrupt inhabitants. Redolent of darkness, death, poison and transgression, it is also an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek Venetian romp. Rich in historical detail and bursting with bejeweled putrescence, Gabrielle Wittkop's chilling memento mori eschews the murder mystery in which it is garbed for a scintillating depiction of physical, moral, societal and institutional corruption, in which the author plays the role of puppeteer--"present, masked as convention dictates, while in a Venice on the brink of downfall, women gorged with venom burst like wineskins." Self-styled heir to the Marquis de Sade, Gabrielle Wittkop (1920-2002) was a French author who wrote...

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