On the first Sunday in September, Venice is packed with visitors who come for the gondola races on the Grand Canal. Sleek black craft of competing teams fly across the water ending east of San Marco Square. I have joined Chris and Ian Fletcher. We plan to catch a vaporetto from the airport to the Luna Baglioni jetty. We signal a driver: Ah signora, today is festival, we try and drop you near hotel. As we approach the archipelago we see the problem. Water police are stopping the vaporetto's from crossing near the San Marco area. Nothing for it but to leg it the last stretch. Up and down bridges, down small snatches of lanes, corners, shops, dead ends. At last we find the hotel. I sink into my bath and sleep deeply.
Tonight we dine at the Monaco Hotel on the canal. It is a chance for our group to meet each other and break bread. We assemble at our waterside table for drinks. Slowly the courses emerge, salmon, salad, fish fillet with leak and shaved potatoes. The sky claps dramatically. Lightening and rain drive us inside for desserts. I glance at the company. We are acting out an Agatha Christie novel, set here in Venice. Inspector Poirot will join us soon when the beautiful but troubled Lavinia is shot dead in the powder room.