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Death in the Palozzo

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If you can’t afford to summer in Italy this year, try transporting yourself to Venice via Death in the Palozzo and watch the city materialize ”in all her trickery, a stage set of domes and bridges, windows and balconies mirrored in the waters.” The last time the feuding Zenos and Capo-Zendrinis got together was over a half century ago, at a fete that ended in the demise of a Zeno family member. When the families reunite at the sumptuous Ca’ da Capo-Zendrini overlooking the Grand Canal, death is once again a guest at the party. The other visitors are no less compelling: the nearly 100-year-old Signora Zeno, who knows ”the virtue of saving her energies for the important assaults of life”; a gnomish psychic named Molly who keeps referring to a past the families would prefer to forget; and Shakespearean namesakes Sebastian and Viola, whose playacting leads to a vicious crime. A stylish family reunion with a cold-blooded ending that proves some people really shouldn’t go home again.

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