Posted by Gerdette [Blogger] at 11/01/2012 15:35:18
This was a very enjoyable read, I think! It was an unexpected read, I was intrigued by the setting, it appealed to me as gardener and also its Italian setting. So why was I not overwhelmed by the book?
The classical illusions, using Greek and Roman mythology to hide the puzzle was at times confusing as my knowledge of these topics is non existent. Yet the solving of the puzzle was fascinating, the murder and its consequences held together as a story.
The atmospheric setting of Tuscany, its landscape, the close knit villages and the people with their long, tradition of family feuding helped make the story believable.
Setting the novel in the late 1950s with the war still a recent memory allowed the novel to be historical without the frocks and carriages. Yet the horrors of war are in recent memory of all the characters.
The lazy young man from an English university sent to Italy to complete his dissertation in this romantic yet brooding setting. That coupled with the erratic behaviour of his older, artist brother and the noble family with secrets to hide and you have a murder story from the past which with lots of atmosphere and literary hooks hold the reader.
This story was told sensitively, with great attention to detail and characterisation. The more I think about this book the more I like it. How often does that happen, as you read the book you feel you don’t like it but as you think about the tale and how it was told the reading experience was better? The nuances of the story, the setting in an old manor house out side Florence, the villagers, the outsiders, and the brooding over run garden which guards its secrets combine to make this a good read and one to talk about. Try it and see what you think.
Available as a book.
Available as a large print book.