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Thursday, 12 October 2017

‘The Girl from Venice’ by Martin Cruz Smith

Published by Simon & Schuster,
14 September.
ISBN 978-1-84983-816-0

In a dramatic opening a Venetian fisherman finds the body of a girl floating in the lagoon and almost immediately his boat is searched by the Germans - it is 1945.   The War is nearing the end but the search is for a Jewish girl who has escaped from capture though her family were all taken. The fisherman Cenzo knows the lagoon like the back of his hand - he can tell where the different fish can be caught and he can catch them by very different methods. The rescue of the girl embroils him in a maelstrom of events involving the Fascists, the German army, the S.S., the partisans and his own family.  

In lyrical passages Cenzo shows us the lagoon and all the pleasures of his fishing life.  Then he has to leave Venice for Salo where Mussolini, his girlfriend, Claretta, and various henchmen are holed up.  The German forces are on the point of leaving Italy and Mussolini seems engaged in fruitless journeys around the Italian Lakes.  The picture of a confused group of people trying to cope with a very fractured world carries great weight of historical knowledge.  The characters all come alive to the reader.

Cenzo may seem like a slow-witted fisherman but he manages to survive all the strange and dangerous encounters he has with men and women of all sides.  His rescue of Giulia completely changes his life.

This is a romantic thriller from a master of the genre.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Martin Cruz Smith has written many books, perhaps the best known is Gorky Park.

Martin Cruz Smith was born in 1942 in Reading, Pennsylvania. His novels include Tatiana, Gorky Park, Stalin's Ghost, Wolves Eat Dogs, Polar Star and Stallion Gate. A two-time winner of the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers and a recipient of Britain's Golden Dagger Award, he lives in California.

 Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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