"Carnival for the Dead" by David Hewson was a major disappointment. I've read two of his other books in the Nic Costa series, one I liked a great deal, the other so-so. But it will be a long time before I read a fourth. The major attraction for me was Venice, where the story takes place, and this alone merits the 2 stars. Lots of detailed descriptions of the city, major landmarks, back alleys, Carnival, vaporetto (water taxis), a good bit of art history, and of course, the citizenry "I'm not Italian, I'm Venetian". But that's it. The mystery in this story is very lame, it's resolution incredibly boring. The story hinges on Arnaud aka The Count of Saint-Germain, born 400-500 years ago who somehow still survives, offering heroine Teresa advice on the case and on life, and at the conclusion explains in a 20 page closing dialog what the case was all about, tidying up all the loose ends. Teresa is a forensic pathologist working with Nic and team in Rome; she has come to Venice to find her missing aunt. The chapters are interlaced with short stories from a mysterious source, but they are even more dull than the investigation. Wish I had quit this book back at pages 50-100 when it became obvious this wasn't for me.