The Girl from Venice
by Martin Cruz Smith, Simon & Schuster.
Cenzo is a charming, middle-aged fisherman working the Venice lagoon in 1945. The war is over, but in La Serenissima, the Nazis are still – just – in charge. One night, Cenzo snares not fish but the still alive body of a beautiful young woman, the daughter of a wealthy Jewish family fleeing the Wehrmacht. The two are so opposite and argumentative, they’re clearly made for each other, but not before a string of adventures gets them entangled with rival groups making their last grasp at power – the Germans and those who thrived under them, and the equally dangerous partisans. What lifts this novel above the love-in-war pack is the examination of what people are prepared do when things fall apart – except for the fisher community, which carries on with business. JB