A Carnival for the Dead

David Hewson essay Carnival for the Dead

This post, an excerpt from Dream of Venice, was written by David Hewson. The material originally appeared in his book A CARNIVAL FOR THE DEAD.


A Carnival for the Dead

As Teresa Lupo crossed the Rialto bridge she found herself walking beneath lines of bright blue snowflake lights strung above the pavement, descending past the souvenir stalls, most of them closed, their wares being carted away by intent, muscular men heaving trolleys up and down steps, the porters who kept this strange city moving, lugging goods everywhere, regardless of bridges and the hordes of pedestrians ahead of them.

Musicians in garish costumes carrying a variety of instruments — horns, drums, a glockenspiel — walked back towards the vaporetto jetty. Crowds of costumed carnival-goers meandered through the arcades as if lost for where to wander next.

Teresa followed Tosi’s instructions and bore right, away from the lights and the people, into the pools of darkness and the small piazzas where the market stalls set up during the day. She could still smell the sweet aroma of fruit and behind it the sharp salt smack of fresh fish. Rounding the blocky hulking shape of the church of San Giacomo she stopped and stood in front of its low, simple loggia, trying to get her bearings, which was never easy at the best of times, even during the day.

Ahead, across a patterned pavement of cobblestones, a, low fountain in the centre, was a half-lit open space surrounded on three sides by arcades. To her left ran a line of low kiosks still lit by a handful of open tourist stands. On her right the taller buildings were occupied by what appeared to be a few restaurants.

Reach the church and go ahead, Tosi said. She was in the right place but could see very little indeed except a moving procession of dark shapes, most of them in costume, criss-crossing the area beneath the shelter of the arcades.

Copyright information for A CARNIVAL FOR THE DEAD by David Hewson: ISBN-13: 978-0230755932, published by Macmillan on Jan 6 2012. Copyright David Hewson.

Dream of Venice Cover Image

About David Hewson

David Hewson is a bestselling British mystery novel writer. Published in more than 20 languages, many of his books take place in Italy.