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Friends in High PlacesThis one doesn’t count toward 55 @ 55.

Just want to note—to myself!—that I’ve already read Donna Leon’s Friends in High Places. The opening premise seemed somewhat familiar, but it actually took me until chapter 3 to be certain. That’s the problem with hopscotching around in a series. (And then abandoning it for a while.)

I plan to return to this series (someday), which features Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice police. Although I have no grand ambition to visit Venice—tourism is ruining it—I love books set in that strange and unique city. I’ve listed a few here (ones I can remember). Perhaps that would be a good project for another year: reading about Venice.

Iain Pear: The Titian Committee
This is actually one entry in an excellent detective series involving Italian art thefts. I wish Pears would write more! I miss art historian Jonathan Argyll and his girlfriend Flavia di Stefano of the Italian Art Squad. (These might be worth re-reading someday.)

John Berendt: City of Falling Angels
Nonfiction author Berendt is better known for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but I loved this later work about the 1996 fire that destroyed La Fenice, the famous Venetian opera house. Lots of insider glimpses into Venice society.

Jane Langton: The Thief of Venice
Langton’s Homer Kelley mystery series is a lightweight entry in the field, but I enjoyed this installment, which coincides with the periodic flooding of Venice, the “aqua alta.”

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Italian Mysteries