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Duncan's outstanding third Venetian fantasy mystery (after 2008's The Alchemist's Code ) sends Alfeo Zeno, loyal apprentice to Nostradamus, in search of a killer who targets Venice's prostitutes. After three women are strangled, Donna Violetta Vitale, a courtesan and fond friend of Alfeo, begs Nostradamus to foresee and stop the next death. When the fourth victim is stabbed, Alfeo narrowly escapes the unseen murderer, thanks to the intervention of a magical cat. The prime suspect is lecherous nobleman Zorzi "Honeycat" Michiel, exiled years earlier for patricide, so his haughty mother, Donna Alina Orio Michiel, retains Alfeo to prove her son's innocence. Alfeo and Nostradamus must rely on more than clairvoyance to save Violetta and unmask the culprit. Duncan neatly blends a vision of magical Venice with an engrossing whodunit. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.