Poisoned Pen, March 2004, 24.95, 296 pp.
He never understood why he was taken away from his family in Venice and sent to the conservatorium San Reno where he underwent surgery that turned him into a castrato. For years he was given music lessons so that his beautiful soprano voice would repay the conservatory for his lessons. In 1731, Tito Amato returns to Venice to sing at the Teatro San Stefano, an opera house owned by Venetian nobleman Domenico Vivani.
Tito's friend Felice Ravello accompanies him hoping to get work at the Teatro San Stefano as a violinist because despite the surgery that made him a castrato, his voice changed anyway. Tito becomes friendly with the star of the opera house, Adelina Belluna, Domenico's mistress. She encourages him and becomes his mentor so that on opening night, he will become the toast of Venice. This comes to pass but tragedy occurs when Adelina is poisoned and Felice is charged with her murder. Tito and his assorted allies have less than a week to find the real perpetrator before his friend is executed.
INTERRUPTED ARIA is a fascinating historical mystery that takes the reader into a world of intrigue, a place where people wear masks to hide their true intentions. Venice in 1731 is a city-state that operates like a business corporation, a fascinating place to read about and the who-done-it is cleverly devised to keep the audience attentive and alert. However, it is the feelings of the castrato protagonists that makes Beverle Graves Myers' novel stand out in the crowd. Hopefully Tito will be featured in other works by Ms. Graves Myers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner