From the author of the acclaimed national bestseller Amagansett comes an even more remarkable novel set in the Tuscan hills: the story of two murders, four hundred years apart-and the ties that bind them together.
Adam Banting, a somewhat aimless young scholar at Cambridge University, is called to his professor's office one afternoon and assigned a special summer project: to write a scholarly monograph about a famous garden built in the 1500s. Dedicated to the memory of Signor Docci's dead wife, the garden is a mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills, and classical inscriptions. But during his three-week sojourn at the villa, Adam comes to suspect that clues to a murder are buried in the strange iconography of the garden: the long-dead Signor Docci most likely killed his wife and filled her memorial garden with pointers as to both the method and the motive of his crime.
As the mystery of the garden unfolds, Adam finds himself drawn into a parallel intrigue. Through his evolving relationship with the lady of the house-the ailing, seventy-something Signora Docci-he finds clues to yet another possible murder, this one much more recent. The signora's eldest son was shot by Nazi officers on the third floor of the villa, and her husband, now dead, insisted that the area be sealed and preserved forever. Like the garden, the third-floor rooms are frozen in time. Delving into his subject, Adam begins to suspect that his summer project might be a setup. Is he really just the na·ve student, stumbling upon clues, or is Signora Docci using him to discover for herself the true meaning of the villa's murderous past?
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Mark Mills is a screenwriter whose first novel, Amagansett, was published in a dozen countries and received the British Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award. A graduate of Cambridge University, he lives in Oxford with his wife and two children.From AudioFile:
In 1958, while studying in the Tuscan Renaissance garden of the enigmatic Signora Francesca Docci, graduate student Adam Strickland uncovers two murders committed four hundred years apart, the sudden death of 25-year-old Flora Docci in the sixteenth century and the death of Signora Docci's son, Emilio, during WWII. Ian Stuart's voice is intriguing as the garden's 70-year-old owner, Francesca; her charm and breeding are evident in his every syllable. As the secrets of the garden and the Docci family unfold, Stuart's Adam evolves from naïf to survivor. Layers within layers, puzzles wrapped around enigmas, elegant writing in lush, luxurious abundance, and Ian Stuart's exceptional performance make Mills's second novel a must-listen for those who like their mysteries enveloped in literary panache. S.J.H. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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