Myers, Beverle Graves

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Myers, Beverle Graves

PERSONAL: Born in Louisville, KY. Education: Attended University of Louisville; received medical degree.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Poisoned Pen Press, 6962 E. 1st Ave., Ste. 103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Psychiatrist and writer.

MEMBER: Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Historical Novel Society, Short Mystery Fiction Society.

WRITINGS:

MYSTERY NOVELS

Interrupted Aria: The First Baroque Mystery, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2004.

Painted Veil: The Second Baroque Mystery, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2005.

Contributor of short mystery stories to periodicals, including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and anthologies, including Derby Rotten Scoundrels, Dime, and Who Died in Here?

SIDELIGHTS: Writing mysteries is a second career for Beverle Graves Myers, who began to pursue her longheld ambition after retiring from her psychiatry practice. The novels in her "Baroque Mystery" series reflect Myers' interest in opera, which has fascinated her since she saw a marionette production of Rigoletto at age nine. The protagonist of Interrupted Aria: The First Baroque Mystery, and Painted Veil: The Second Baroque Mystery, is Tito Amato, a castrato—a castrated male with a soprano voice—opera singer in eighteenth-century Venice. Interrupted Aria, set in 1731, shows Tito joining a Venetian opera company whose star female singer, Adelina Belluna, is subsequently murdered by poisoning during a performance. When Tito's friend Felice Ravello, also a castrato, is accused of the killing, jailed, and threatened with execution; Tito and assorted helpers work frantically to find the real perpetrator and clear Felice.

Graves's mystery plotting received compliments from critics, as did her out-of-the-ordinary hero and colorful setting. The story takes many twists and turns, "but Myers neatly ties all the pieces together by the end," observed a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who praised the novel as "absorbing," with a highly original lead character plus rich detail about Venice and eighteenth-century operatic performances. Similarly, Harriet Klausner, writing for AllReaders.com, called both the setting and the mystery "fascinating," adding: "It is the feelings of the castrato protagonists that makes Beverle Graves Myers' novel stand out in the crowd."

Painted Veil is set three years after Interrupted Aria. In the interim, Tito has risen to stardom, then fallen because he has become lazy about practicing and his large ego has alienated many of his colleagues. The opera company's director, Rinaldo Torani, casts Tito in a supporting role in the current production, but he also gives the star another assignment that may bring about the singer's redemption: find the company's missing set designer, Luca Cavalieri. When Luca is found dead in a canal, his lover, Jewish seamstress Liya del'Vecchio, is suspected of murdering him. Tito, who is attracted to the woman and, as a castrato, sympathizes with Jews as fellow outsiders and targets of prejudice, enlists the aid of a new friend, visiting English painter Augustus Rumbolt, in seeking out the person truly responsible for Luca's death. The novel offers "an insightful and tender look" at the effects of bigotry and "a wonderful view" of Venice, commented a Publishers Weekly critic. It also has a "cleverly developed" plot, related Klausner in MBR Bookwatch, going on to pronounce the book "a delightful historical mystery." A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that Myers "powerfully evokes a long-ago world where beauty walks with treachery, and an intrepid hero who can't afford to lose his voice." Meanwhile, in Booklist, Jenny McLarin remarked that the novel "transports readers to a fascinating world of glamour, deceit, intrigue, and passion. Bravo!"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2004, Jenny McLarin, review of Painted Veil: The Second Baroque Mystery, p. 1066.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, Nelson, review of Painted Veil, p. 87.

Publishers Weekly, February 23, 2004, review of Interrupted Aria: The First Baroque Mystery, p. 55; February 28, 2005, review of Painted Veil, p. 46.

ONLINE

AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (July 13, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Interrupted Aria.

Beverle Graves Myers Home Page, http://www.beverlegravesmyers.com (July 13, 2005).

MBR Bookwatch, http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (July 13, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Painted Veil.