Adam Wood has just graduated from college and has arranged to go to Venice to teach a rich local English. I return he will have a place to stay and much free time in which to pursue his dream of writing a novel. That deal falls through on arrival, but he finds instead Gordon Crace (there has to be a pun on the word disgrace in there somewhere) an eccentric Brit, author of a best-seller in his 30’s, now living a Howard Hunt existence in a filth-caked house, not writing any more. In fact, that one book, seen as a great work, was his only book. Adam is to be his latest companion, housemaid, chef, assistant. It turns out that there is some mystery in Crace’s past. His novel had been about a schoolboy plan to kill for the thrill of it, and Adam begins to suspect that it may not have been entirely fictional. He sets about following leads into Crace’s past, but there is a well-known biographer who is already hot on Crace’s tail. We see a very dark side to Crace, a fondness for cruelty, punishment, pain. Later we see that Adam has some sins on his resume as well. Perhaps these two are peas in a pod. What is Gordon’s secret? What sort of person is Adam, really? Who will get the book deal? This is not earth-shaking stuff, but was a fun read, with a bit of payload about Venice and art.