Acqua Alta
By Donna Leon
Adult Fiction, 1996
Reviewed by Ann Doubleday, Adult Services

It is acqua alta in Venice, the wet season, a time when streets are flooded and a damp chill descends over the otherwise beautiful city. Commissario Guido Brunetti is once again called in to investigate a murder.  His old friend, renowned art historian and archaeologist Brett Lynch, was mysteriously beaten shortly before the director of a Venetian art museum is found dead.  Is there a connection? Are some of the museum’s ancient Chinese ceramics, recently discovered by Brett, masterful fakes? If so, what happened to the originals and how were they exchanged with the frauds? Follow Brunetti as his search for answers takes him deep into the inner workings of the Italian professional criminal underworld and to the highest echelons of Venetian society. For those who like their mysteries with a good dose of art, culture, opera, and antique collecting, Leon’s novel has it all.

 

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked & Found
By Martin W. Sandler
Juvenile Fiction, 2017
Reviewed by Hannah Peacock, Assistant Director and Youth Services Librarian

Exciting, readable non-fiction for kids is not always easy to find. The Whydah by Martin W. Sandler has that perfect balance of adventure and information. The Whydah was a pirate ship that was launched in 1716 and carried large amounts of precious cargo. This cargo included not only valuable merchandise for trade but it also transported slaves from Africa to the Caribbean. The Whydah was the exact kind of ship that the Pirate Black Sam Bellamy longed to captain, as it was large and fast. As often happened with ships carrying riches, the Whydah was indeed overthrown.

In telling the story of the Whydah. Mr. Sandler dispels many of the myths about the jolly nature of pirates. They were not jolly- they were ruthless killers and thieves. In 1984, the wreck of the Whydah was finally found off the coast of Massachusetts, changing many of the stories and tales told about pirates such as Sam Bellamy from fiction to fact.