Story of a blurb

“An unputdownable thriller” These are the words blazoned across the top of Philip Gwynne Jones’s novel, The Venetian Game, published last year by Constable and chosen this month as Waterstones Thriller of the Month. They appear with my name beneath them, now on stacks and stacks of book in every […]

And the 61 worse places?

A relative pointed out to me that Tripadvisor ratings put Osteria da Luca as #1,195 of 1,256 in Venice. This means there are 61 worse places to eat in the city…

Not a great start…

So the great experiment of “numero chiuso” (limited access) was put into practice for the opening of Venice’s Carnival yesterday evening. It’s what people have been demanding for years now – and not just for Carnival. It doesn’t seem to have gone well. The inaugural spectacle, with light-shows and circus […]

Orientalism lives… Update on the Osteria da Luca.

It turns out that the manager of the restaurant who overcharged the Japanese students is an Egyptian, Kazi Babar. Although he runs the restaurant the premises are sub-let to him by a Chinese, Zeng Chegyi, who, in turn, is renting it from a Venetian, Professor Franco Rendich. To keep up the […]

Lasciate ogni speranza…

The case of the Venetian restaurant that charged a group of Japanese students 1143 euros for four steaks, a plate of mixed-grill fish, two glasses of wine and a bottle of mineral water has made it onto the front page of most of the world’s newspapers. A glance at Tripadvisor […]


Chapter 17: “The Fontego appeared through the mist on our right, with its long line of slender arched windows. It had presumably once had an equally elegant ground floor, with a line of wider arches along the canal, but a ramshackle set of smaller shed-like buildings had been untidily stuck […]


Chapter 10: “We made our way towards the little square behind the church, the codega providing a damp luminescence in the mist to guide our footsteps. This feeble light proved unnecessary by the time we reached the little bridge that crossed the canal to the Querini palace, since not only […]

Article in “Il Manifesto” on Alvise Marangon

Very gratified to have a half-page devoted to the Alvise Marangon mysteries in the cultural insert of Il Manifesto. The article is by Francesco Rognoni (22nd October 2017). Very flattered to find myself in the company of (though not actually compared with) W. H. Auden, Robert Browning and Lord Byron…  Here’s an […]