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The Adventure of the Venetian Pearls (part 23)

"The pearls that were stolen from an exhibition in Penzance," Nicky nodded. "There was something on the news the other day."
They sat at the table around the article.

"Do you know the story behind the pearls?" Daniel asked.

The other two shook their heads.

Daniel explained, "There was an article in 'Life' or some such magazine about an exhibition in Penzance on shipwrecks and their treasures. My father works in jewellery. For some days we didn't discuss anything else at dinner, that's why I remember. Some of the most fascinating exhibits were depicted with a brief chronicle. I don't know if you're familiar with the history of Venice?"

"The Italian city? Well, only a little," Nicky answered but Chris shook his head.

"Venice was more than a city. It was a state with trade connections reaching as far as China. By the thirteenth century..."

"Sorry to interrupt you, professor, but you're not really going to begin with Marco Polo, are you?" Nicky broke in.

"Ok, in a nutshell, then. Venice reached the climax of its power, so the article said, in the sixteenth century. Apart from the aristocracy, the merchants formed the wealthiest element of its population. Artists and craftsmen from everywhere gathered in Venice and created some of the finest masterpieces the world had ever seen.
(To be continued)