Meet Me in Venice

( 19 )

Overview

FOUR WORDS WOULD CHANGE HER LIFE...

Precious Rafferty is an American antiques dealer living in Paris. Though Precious—known as Preshy—lives in the world's most romantic city, she keeps her feet firmly on the ground. No man will ever sweep her off her feet. Until she meets Bennett James. He's perfect in every way. Is he too good to be true? Granted, she doesn't know much about his business or personal life in Shanghai, but isn't it time to stop being so jaded about romance? And ...

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Meet Me in Venice

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Overview

FOUR WORDS WOULD CHANGE HER LIFE...

Precious Rafferty is an American antiques dealer living in Paris. Though Precious—known as Preshy—lives in the world's most romantic city, she keeps her feet firmly on the ground. No man will ever sweep her off her feet. Until she meets Bennett James. He's perfect in every way. Is he too good to be true? Granted, she doesn't know much about his business or personal life in Shanghai, but isn't it time to stop being so jaded about romance? And then her long-lost cousin Lily Song sends her an urgent message about Preshy's new love. "Meet me in Venice" are Lily's cryptic words.

ONE MAN MIGHT POSSIBLY END IT...

Lily lives in Shanghai and knows the antiques underworld there—and she has a secret important enough to draw her to Venice to meet Preshy for the first time, face-to-face. Ruggedly handsome, world-weary writer Sam Knight senses there's a story afoot. Precious senses he's getting closer and closer to her and enmeshed in this tangled web of danger and desire. But is Sam also not all he seems to be? Does he have a terrible secret he's keeping from Preshy? In Venice, Precious will have to weave through a maze of betrayers and seducers to discover who she can trust with her heart...and with her life.

Page-turning, lushly descriptive, and intelligent, Meet Me in Venice is a cat-and-mouse game with plenty of twists and wonderful characters you'll never forget. It is Elizabeth Adler at her storytelling best.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this globe-spanning, intrigue-filled thriller from veteran bestseller Adler (Hotel Riviera), an American antiques dealer working in Paris, 38-year-old Precious "Preshy" Rafferty, is drawn into a scheme that also ensnares a cousin she's never met in person, Shanghai antique dealer Lily Song. Lily owns a fabulous, superexpensive necklace that Lily's business associate, Mary-Lou Chen, is out to steal. It's the job of Mary-Lou's paramour, American businessman Bennett Yuan, to find a buyer. As the suspense builds, Lily and Preshy must travel to Venice to meet and, among other things, protect the fortune Preshy is due to inherit from her Aunt Grizelda. Adler remains as adept as ever at making her various locales come to life and doesn't disappoint in keeping the mystery surrounding the necklace, and the two cousins, swirling. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
From the Publisher
"Adler remains as adept as ever at making her various locales come to life and doesn't disappoint in keeping the mystery ... swirling."

Publishers Weekly

 

"This fast-moving tale contains all the right elements for a perfect summer read: romance, exotic locales and mysterious characters.... Wonderful escapist fare."

RT Book Reviews

 

"Adler's romantic suspense novels aim to please. And please this one does."

Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641990366
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

ElIZABETH ADLER is the internationally acclaimed author of 21 novels. She lives in Palm Springs, CA.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Shanghai

Six Months Later

Lily Song was eating breakfast at the Happybird Tea House, an open-fronted place in an alley off the Renmin Road, named for the tiny birds, the pets of the customers that accompanied them in their little bamboo cages, singing their morning songs. She ate there every morning at exactly the same time—eight o’clock—and she always had exactly the same thing: shrimp dim sum with vegetables and green tea with semolina grains that swelled up like miniature cannonballs in the hot tea and tasted like slippery bird shot. Her fellow breakfasters were all men but that did not bother her and anyway they were all too immersed in their newspapers and noodles to notice her, even though she was an attractive woman.

She was small and very slender, with a shoulder-length swing of glossy black hair and eyes so dark a brown they looked almost black too. She had the fair skin of her European mother and the delicate bridgeless nose of her Chinese father, and she wore either conservative Western clothes bought at the better boutiques on the Nanking Road, or the traditional brocade dress, the quipao in jewel tones, tailored specifically to her directions by an expert in his tiny storefront shop near the Bubbling Well Road. Either way, though she was not beautiful, she gave the impression of an attractive, successful woman. Which, in a sense, she was.

This morning, however, she was wearing narrow black pants with a black linen top. Her hair was pulled back and large sunglasses hid her eyes. She could have passed unnoticed in any Shanghai crowd. She glanced up as a man entered, then stood looking around him. He was a foreigner, older, smart in a lightweight beige business suit and he carried a leather document case. Lily lifted her hand, beckoning him over.

He came and sat in the chair opposite. With a gruff “good morning” he placed the document case on the table in front of him. A soft-footed server hovered nearby and Lily ordered plain green tea for her guest. She asked if he would like to eat and with a faint look of disgust he said he would not. He was Swiss and conservative and he did not like Chinese food. The teahouse was not a place he would have chosen to do business but this was Lily’s call.

“My client is interested in anything you can show him,” he said without wasting any time. “Provided it can be authenticated, that is.”

Lily had done business with him before. His client’s identity was preserved under a cloak of strict anonymity, which suited her just fine. That way she didn’t have to deal with tricky, rich, artistic personalities who thought they knew more than she did. Antiques and, in particular, stolen antiques were what she had dealt in since she was sixteen and she knew what she was talking about.

“I have some things your client might be interested in,” she said in a low voice, because you never knew who was listening. “I expect to take delivery of a batch of antiquities very soon. Cloisonné, famille verte, statues. . . .”

“When will you have them?” His eyes bored into her, questioning her integrity. She hated him for it but she did not show that. Instead she smiled.

“Within a few weeks. Meanwhile, here is something very special. The most important piece I have ever come across.” She reached in her purse, took out a photograph and handed it to him.

The man studied it carefully. “My client doesn’t care for jewelry,” he said curtly.

“I think he will care for this when he hears its provenance.” Lily took another sip of her green tea, meeting his eyes across the table. “Your client will no doubt have heard of the great Dragon Lady, Cixi, the Dowager Empress of China?” She spelled the name for him and told him it was pronounced chee shee, so that he could make his notes correctly.

“Cixi was once a concubine but eventually she ruled China and was said to have been even more powerful than her contemporary, Queen Victoria.

“The Empress lived in great splendor in the Forbidden City, and in preparation for her death she built herself a magnificent tomb, a lavish complex of temples, gates and pavilions glittering in gold and precious stones.

“Eventually, she was buried there, wearing her elaborate crown and magnificent robes, along with her wonderful jewels and precious ornaments. And before they sealed the coffin, in accordance with Imperial custom, a large and very rare pearl, the size of a robin’s egg, was placed in her mouth. It was believed this would preserve the royal corpse from decay.”

Lily paused in her story, studying the man opposite. He was looking at the photograph she had given him. She could tell from his body language he was interested, even though he pretended otherwise. It was all about money, she thought, cynically. But then, wasn’t it always?

“Twenty years later,” she said, “the revolutionary troops dynamited the entrance to Cixi’s burial chamber. The soldiers stripped the temples, looted all the treasures and opened Cixi’s coffin. They ripped off her Imperial robes and stole the crown from her head. Then they threw her naked corpse onto the muddy ground.”

Lily paused and the man’s stunned eyes met hers, waiting for what she would say next. “The body was said to be intact,” she said softly. “And from her mouth, they stole that single, massive, rare pearl. A moonbeam of light and cool as death itself.”

The man lowered his eyes to the photograph and she smiled; she knew she had his interest now.

“Yes,” she said softly, “it’s the very same one. There was, it has been said, a second pearl, this one taken from the Empress’s crown. It’s rumored that the second pearl came into the possession of Premier Chiang Kai-shek and ended up as an ornament, along with another fine pearl, on the party shoes of his wife, the famous Soong Mai-ling. The rest of the jewels disappeared into obscurity and into hidden collections.”

She paused again, making him wait. “Until suddenly,” she said, “sixty or so years ago, a necklace surfaced, embedded with emeralds and rubies, diamonds and jade, all said to be from Cixi’s tomb. And at its center was the famous pearl.”

Smiling, she saw him take a deep breath. Then he said, “And you are telling me you have this necklace with the pearl in your possession?”

She lowered her eyes. “Let us just say I know where to lay my hands on it.” Lily understood that he knew the existence of the necklace must be kept secret, that if the authorities found out about it she would certainly be in danger.

“And the price?”

“As always, that is open to discussion. Obviously it will not be cheap. And there is, of course, always a premium on a history and provenance as sinister as this one. Many men would enjoy handling the pearl from the mouth of the dead Empress, a woman who was once a famous concubine. It would give them a special thrill, I think.” She smiled at the man, gathering up her handbag. “I’m sure we can do business together,” she said, offering him her hand.

The little birds trilled joyously as she left.

Copyright © 2007 by Elizabeth Adler. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Great Story

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting and I have actually been to Venice and it took me back and it was fun, I like characters too. I would recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Love this book

    I read Elizabeth Adlers book summer in Tuscany and loved it, so I bought this book. I was not disappointed. The lead charachter Preshy meets a writer who helps her figure who killed her cousin and find a priceless necklace that everyone wants. I thought it was well written. Sometimes that choices that Prechy made, makes you want to slap her. you do not want to put this book down till your finished.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    Sierra

    That sucks lets go 2 diapers result 1...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Arielle

    Ok

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2008

    Meeting in Venice Optional

    I don't know what book the previous reviewer read, but it sure wasn't worth 5 stars. And re-capping the plot is hardly a review. This book is okay for a summer read but any intelligent reader can see the developments coming a mile away and there are a couple of issues that are never really fully explained. The ending was too neat for my taste. I prefer more of a challenge in my reading

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

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    a reviewer

    Thirty-eight years old American expatriate Precious ¿Preshy¿ Rafferty loves living in Paris. She especially enjoys owning and running an antique shop, but also frets that she has never met the right one though she has had her lovers. That is until now when she meets American businessman Bennett James at a café he is visiting the city but is based six thousand miles away in Shanghai. -------------------- At about the same time in Shanghai, Preshy¿s cousin antique dealer Lily Song possesses a valuable necklace that others covet. Especially wanting to steal and sell the jewelry is Mary-Lou Chen. Her lover, American businessman Bennett Yuan, is halfway around the world seeking a buyer. Lily warns Preshy that a schemer seeks the latter¿s necklace and the former¿s inheritance. The cousins who never met before agree to meet in Venice where they hope to expose the thieves even as Preshy wonders who to trust, her cousin or her lover.--------------- Suspense readers will want to meet Elizabeth Adler in Venice as this fast-paced thriller is loaded with fascinating characters who have no qualms about underworld trafficking except apparently the naive heroine. Preshy is precious as she finally finds love, but her cousin raises issues of trust and betrayal. Fans will be hooked from the first encounter in the Happy Bird Teahouse in Shanghais and remain entranced wondering along with the heroine who to trust until the Venus climax.-------------------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted June 7, 2011

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