Tito Amato is not your typical amateur sleuth. The canals of 18th century Venice are his beat. He’s more comfortable in an opera house than a station house, and he’d rather be singing than solving crimes. Tito Amato is a “castrato” – a male castrated at an early age to preserve his soprano voice – and he’s the unlikely protagonist in a six-book series of historical mysteries by Fort Myers writer, Beverle Graves Myers.
Myers fell in love with Baroque opera in college. After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Louisville, she continued on to earn a medical degree and complete a residency in psychiatry. She spent many years as a practicing psychiatrist before deciding to make a midlife career change. “I’d always been a huge reader,” she says. “I was the kid leaving the library every week with an armload of books. I looked at authors as higher beings and thought you had to have some special kind of magic to be a writer. As I grew older, I began to realize that I could do it if I honed my skills and practiced.” While reading Anne Rice’s “Cry to Heaven,” a novel about at castrato singer, she became intrigued by the main character. Having always loved mystery stories, Myers decided to put a similar character into a mystery novel, and Tito Amato was born.
In the first book in what was to become the Tito Amato Mystery series, Interrupted Aria, Tito tries to find the murderer of one friend to exonerate another. Painted Veil finds Tito on the trail of the head of a shadowy society connected to the murder of an opera employee. In Cruel Music, Tito goes to Rome to free his imprisoned brother and finds himself enmeshed in the world of papal politics and murder. The Iron Tongue of Midnight has Tito facing a menacing and notorious figure from his past, and Her Deadly Mischief follows Tito as he hunts for the assailant who pushed a woman to her death at one of his performances.
The final installment in the series, Whispers of Vivaldi, has Tito reluctantly thrust into the role of director after the opera company’s maestro is murdered. When Tito becomes the prime suspect, he realizes that he has to save himself as well as his company by finding the murderer as well as the true identity of the mysterious Angeletto, a popular castrato from Milan.
In a departure from the series, Myers has co-written a stand-alone novel with Joanne Dobson, her friend and neighbor. Face of the Enemy is a mystery set in New York City during World War II. The book started as a “fun project” that resulted in a short story. After the story was published in Hitchcock Magazine, the two writers decided to develop it into a novel. “We kept tossing scenes back and forth until we were satisfied,” Myers explains. “What we wound up with was a third voice that didn’t sound like either of us.”
Now that the Tito Amato series has concluded, Myers is on the hunt for another historical period to delve into. “I have a real knack for pulling a good story out of the past and bringing it to life with characters that mirror real-life people,” she says. “I strive to write as if I’m painting with words using a fine-pointed brush, exposing readers to past eras without making it into a history lesson. I’m still very interested in the World War II home front, but the world of Downton Abbey is also very intriguing. I’m doing research on both.”
For more information on books by Beverle Graves Myers, visit her publisher’s website at www.poisonedpenpress.com.